A new study by the University of Edinburgh finds that blood pressure medications are effective regardless of whether it’s administered in the morning or evening.
Previous research has indicated that blood pressure medication – treatment that lowers blood pressure – may be more effective if taken in the evening. Now, new findings challenge this finding with clinical trial data suggesting that the medication is effective regardless of the time of day.
Blood pressure medications are one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the UK, with around seven to nine million people using them to reduce their risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases.
The study has been published in The Lancet.
What is blood pressure medication?
Blood pressure medications are prescribed to individuals with high blood pressure.
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers, the higher number (systolic pressure) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body. The lower number (diastolic pressure) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
High blood pressure can cause a range of health conditions, such as heart disease, heart attacks and strokes, highlighting the importance of lifesaving blood pressure medications.
There are many medications available to manage high blood pressure. They typically come in tablet form and are taken once a day. Examples include ACE inhibitors, calcium channel blockers, diuretics, beta-blockers, alpha-blockers, and other diuretics.
A clinical trial of patients with high blood pressure
In the randomised clinical trial, more than 21,000 patients with high blood pressure found that protection against heart attack, stroke or circulatory diseases is unaffected by whether blood pressure medications are taken in the morning or evening.
The participants were taking at least one medication that lowered their blood pressure. Half were asked to take their blood pressure medication in the evening and the other half in the morning.
The participants were followed for five years, and the researchers found no difference in the number of people who suffered a heart attack, stroke or circulatory disease – 362 in the morning group versus 390 in the evening group.
The research was conducted by teams from the Universities of Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow and Oxford, Imperial College London, and the Queen Mary University of London.
“The main message from the study is that there is no optimal time to take blood pressure tablets to achieve a better outcome, so patients should take their tablets at the time that suits them best,” commented Professor David Webb, Christison Chair of Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology and author on the study.