People taking their pills at night have nearly 45 per cent lower risk of dying from or suffering heart attacks, myocardial infarction and stroke. Photo: iStock

Blood pressure medication would benefit better if taken at bedtime, a major study reveals.

The research, published in the European Heart Journal, found that people taking their pills at night have nearly 45 per cent lower risk of dying from or suffering heart attacks, myocardial infarction and stroke.

The researchers from Spain randomised 19,084 patients taking their pills on waking or at bedtime and has followed them for an average of more than six years between 2008 and 2018. Patients’ ambulatory blood pressure was checked over 48 hours at least once a year.

While analyzing the individual outcomes, they found a 66 per cent decrease in heart or blood vessel problems risk, a 44 per cent decrease in myocardial infarction risk, 42 per cent decrease in heart failure risk and 49 per cent decrease in stroke risk.

“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,” said Professor Ramon C. Hermida from the University of Vigo, who led the study.

Known as the Hygia Project, the research team is composed of a network of 40 primary care centres within the Galician Social Security Health Service in northern Spain. A total of 292 doctors are involved in the project and have been trained in ambulatory blood pressure monitoring.

“Decreasing the average systolic blood pressure while asleep and increasing the sleep-time relative decline in blood pressure towards more normal dipper blood pressure patterns are both significantly protective, thus constituting a joint novel therapeutic target for reducing cardiovascular risk,” Hermida said.

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