Is it better to take that antihypertensive at night?

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Any antihypertension medication included in the Spanish national formulary was allowed (exact agents were not delineated, but the following classes were included: ARB, ACE inhibitor, calcium channel blocker [CCB], beta-blocker, and/or diuretic). All BP medications had to be dosed once daily for inclusion. Exclusion criteria included pregnancy, night or rotating-shift work, alcohol or other substance dependence, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, preexisting CVD (unstable angina, heart failure, arrhythmia, kidney failure, and retinopathy), inability to tolerate ABPM, and inability to comply with required 1-year follow-up.

Upon enrollment and at every subsequent clinic visit (scheduled at least annually), participants underwent 48-hour ABPM. Those with uncontrolled BP or elevated CVD risk had scheduled follow-up and ABPM more frequently. The primary outcome was a composite of CVD events including new-onset myocardial infarction, coronary revascularization, heart failure, ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, and CVD death. Secondary endpoints were individually analyzed primary outcomes of CVD events. The typical patient at baseline was 60.5 years of age with a body mass index of 29.7, an almost 9-year duration of hypertension, and a baseline office BP of 149/86 mm Hg. The patient break-out by antihypertensive class (awakening vs bedtime groups) was as follows: ARB (53% vs 53%), ACE inhibitor (25% vs 23%), CCB (33% vs 37%), beta-blocker (22% vs 18%), and diuretic (47% vs 40%).

See “It’s time to change when BP meds are taken” for more on the controversy that surrounded the initial release of this study.

During the median 6.3-year patient follow-up period, 1752 participants experienced a total of 2454 CVD events. Patients in the bedtime administration group, compared with those in the morning group, showed significantly lower risk for a CVD event (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.55; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.50-0.61; P < .001). Also, there was a lower risk for individual CVD events in the bedtime administration group: CVD death (HR = 0.44; 95% CI, 0.34-0.56), myocardial infarction (HR = 0.66; 95% CI, 0.52-0.84), coronary revascularization (HR = 0.60; 95% CI, 0.47-0.75), heart failure (HR = 0.58; 95% CI, 0.49-0.70), and stroke (HR = 0.51; 95% CI, 0.41-0.63). This difference remained after correction for multiple potential confounders. There were no differences in adverse events, such as sleep-time hypotension, between groups.


First RCT in primary care to show dosing time change reduces CV risk

This is the first randomized controlled trial (RCT) performed in a primary care setting to compare before-bedtime to upon-waking administration of antihypertensive medications using clinically significant endpoints. The study demonstrates that a simple change in administration time has the potential to significantly improve the lives of our patients by reducing the risk for cardiovascular events and their medication burden.


Homogenous population and exclusions limit generalizability

Because the study population consisted of white Spanish men and women, the results may not be generalizable beyond that ethnic group. In addition, the study exclusions limit interpretation in night/rotating-shift employees, patients with secondary hypertension, and those with CVD, chronic kidney disease, or severe retinopathy looking to reduce their risk.


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