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Hypertension drugs at bedtime ‘halves diabetes risk’

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Taking blood pressure medication at bedtime rather than in the morning halves the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to new research.

A team of Spanish researchers found taking hypertension medication before bed brings down blood pressure while patients are asleep.

“One or more blood pressure-lowering medications at bedtime compared with ingestion upon awakening results in significantly improved sleeping blood pressure and prevention of new-onset diabetes”

Study authors

They went on to investigate the benefits of this approach compared to taking pills in the morning and found a greater reduction in the risk of developing diabetes.

The findings were published in two separate papers published in Diabetologica – the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

The team from the University of Vigo conducted a randomised trial involving 2,012 people with high blood pressure, who were either instructed to take all their medication when they got up or right before bed.

When participants were followed up several years later, those who took their pills at bedtime were found to have significantly lower average blood pressure when asleep and a steeper reduction in blood pressure.

Meanwhile, there was a 57% decrease in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the group who took the medication at night – when other factors had been taken into account.

Further analysis found similar reductions in diabetes risk when it came to taking a range of medications used to treat blood pressure before bed rather than in the morning.

“In hypertensive patients without diabetes, ingestion of the entire daily dose of one or more blood pressure-lowering medications at bedtime compared with ingestion of all such medication upon awakening results in significantly improved sleeping blood pressure and prevention of new-onset diabetes,” said the study authors.

June Davison, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This is an interesting study that raises questions about the best time people should take blood pressure medications but more research is needed to confirm these findings.

“One of the reasons why people are advised to take their blood pressure medications in the morning is because blood pressure is normally higher during the day than at night while you’re sleeping,” she added. 

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