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Blood Pressure Pills ‘Work Better at Bedtime’

To get the best out of your daily blood pressure medication, take it just before you go to bed, say researchers.

The pills offer more protection against heart attacks and strokes when taken at bedtime rather than in the morning, a large new study suggests.

Experts believe our body’s biological ‘clock’ or natural 24-hour rhythm alters our response to the medication.

There is mounting evidence that many different drugs, including heart pills, might work better when taken at specific times of the day.

In the Spanish study:

  • The patients were put into two groups at random – one group took the pills in the morning and the other group took them at bedtime
  • Researchers monitored what happened to the patients over the next five or more years
  • Patients who took their medication in the evening had nearly half the risk of dying from – or having – a heart attack, stroke or heart failure*

Blood pressure should naturally dip at night, as we rest and sleep.

If it doesn’t, and remains consistently high, that puts you at increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, experts say.

The research suggests taking medication in the evening helps keep night-time blood pressure in check, in patients diagnosed with high blood pressure (which doctors call hypertension).

Patients in the study who took their medication at bedtime had significantly lower average blood pressure both at night and during the day, and their blood pressure dipped more at night, when compared with patients taking their medication each morning.

Lead researcher Prof Ramon Hermida, from the University of Vigo, said doctors might want to consider recommending it to patients: “It’s totally cost-free. It might save a lot of lives.

“The results of this study show that patients who routinely take their anti-hypertensive medication at bedtime, as opposed to when they wake up, have better-controlled blood pressure and, most importantly, a significantly decreased risk of death or illness from heart and blood vessel problems.”

He said more studies in different populations were needed to check that the findings will apply to all patients on different brands of blood pressure tablets.

By Michelle RobertsHealth editor,

Source: BBC News online 23 October 2019

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