A rather robust study released a few years ago found that the ideal time to take blood pressure medication was in the evening, before bed.
Now another large study is contradicting those findings, suggesting that when it comes to taking blood pressure drugs, timing doesn’t matter.
So what gives?
One theory on why blood pressure medication may be best taken at night is that blood pressure drops into the evening and the sleeping period of your day as your body winds down. This is true – it is part of your body’s circadian rhythm (sleep and wake cycle.)
In some, however, a nighttime blood pressure dip does not occur. That means that blood pressure stays high overnight, a major risk factor for several blood pressure-related conditions like heart attack and stroke.
Controlling blood pressure overnight, therefore, became a theory to combat this. It was possible that taking drugs before bed would induce the dip.
But new research is saying that it really doesn’t matter when people take their blood pressure medication.
These results are based on a randomized trial featuring more than 21,000 patients with high blood pressure. They were followed for five years.
Researchers assigned participants to take their blood pressure meds at night or in the morning. They then tracked hospitalizations for heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular disease-related death.
Over a median five-year period, 3.4 percent of those that took their medication at night and 3.7 percent of those that took it in the morning were hospitalized for either a heart attack, stroke, or died from cardiovascular disease.
The results suggest that there is virtually no difference in outcome based on when you take your blood pressure medication.
It should be noted that these findings were presented at the European Society of Cardiology in Barcelona and are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Talking to your doctor about when you should take your medication is best. They may have a protocol they would like you to follow. If they leave it up to you, and you’re more likely to remember to take your meds in the morning, go for it!