NHS advice on the best time to take blood pressure tablets


The NHS has responded to research which has found the best time of day to take blood pressure medication.

The information comes following a new study conducted by several institutions in Spain. The results suggest tablets for high blood pressure worked significantly more when taken before bed.

The Spanish government-funded research involved roughly 20,000 participants whose condition was monitored during a six-year follow-up period while using the medication.

The findings of the study suggest there is nearly a fifty percent less chance of suffering a stroke or heart attack if tablets are taken at night.

And now the NHS has shared its own thoughts on the strudy explaining weather or not it agrees the medication is best taken later in the day, report North Wales Live.

What was the research?

The study was a randomised controlled trial which aimed to see if blood pressure tablets worked better if taken in the morning or the evening.

It was conducted across forty Spanish GP surgeries  for ten years from 2008, with the subjects being adults who had been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

These 19,084 participants had been prescribed various types of medication for the condition prior.

Half of the participants, who had an average age of 60, were told to take the medication once awake in the morning, while the rest were told to take it before bedtime.

The group were followed up with a clinic assessment once a year – including having blood tests – with researchers having a particular interest strokes, heart attacks, or death from cardiovascular disease.

What were the findings?

The average follow-up was around six years, during which nine percent of participants experienced at least one of the main cardiovascular outcomes.

Researchers found those taking blood pressure tablets at night had a 45 percent lower risk of any of these events, compared to those who took medication earlier on. 

Clinical assessments during follow-up included a 48-hour blood pressure monitoring, which revealed that patients taking their tablets at bedtime had lower blood pressure during the night.

However, there was no discernible difference in the rate of blood pressure or side effects from treatment experienced between the groups.

The researchers concluded that taking blood pressure medication at bedtime results in “improved blood pressure control” and a “markedly diminished occurrence of major cardiovascular disease events.”

What has the NHS said?

The NHS primarily had praise for the new study, referring to it as a “valuable trial” in investigating the best time to take blood pressure medication.

It stated that the research had “particular strengths,” such as a long duration of follow up, and a large sample size.

The health body said that the results “suggest that the timing of taking medicines can make a real difference,” commenting that this “lends support” to previous studies with similar findings.

And for patients considering changing their routine, the NHS reminded that, under current guidelines, the various blood pressure medicines “do not have strict prescribing information on when during the day they need to be taken.”

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People taking diuretics (water tablets) are warned to continue taking the medication in the morning, to prevent the need to urinate throughout the night.

But whilst there appears to be some flexibility in when to take blood pressure medication, the NHS asserted that the recent findings need to be “validated in other study populations” aside from those in Spain.

It said that, once further conclusive evidence had been recorded, changes to how professionals prescribe such medication could change.

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