Expert explains best time to take blood pressure medication to 'avoid' heart attack

The time you take blood pressure medication can help with avoiding heart problems (stock image)

Research shows that patients who take blood pressure medication aligned with their body clock can reduce their risk of a heart attack.

University of Dundee school of Medicine researchers revealed that a person's chronotype can impact how they interact with blood pressure medication.

The research was conducted in conjunction with Helmholtz Munich and a team of scientists from Italy, the UK and the US. More than 5,000 people from the Treatment in Morning versus Evening Trial completed a questionnaire which assessed how their body clock is tuned, and around half of the respondents said that they take their medication in the morning while the remainder take theirs in the evening.

Scientists observed that 'morning larks' who have earlier chronotypes who took their medication in the morning were less likely to experience a heart attack than those who were misaligned and took theirs in the evening. Meanwhile, 'night owls' who took their blood pressure medication in the evening were also less likely to be hospitalised for a heart attack compared to those with later chronotypes who took theirs in the morning.

The Mirror reports that the team concluded that respondents who took their medication during the times that they feel more attuned to could be better protecting their hearts. Dr Filippo Pigazzani, clinical senior lecturer and honorary consultant cardiologist at Dundee University, said: "These results are exciting because they could represent a paradigm shift in the treatment of hypertension.

"Our research has now shown for the first time that considering chronotype when deciding dosing time of antihypertensives personalised chronotherapy could reduce the risk of heart attack. However, before any patients change when they are taking their antihypertensive medications, our findings first need to be confirmed in new randomised clinical trials of personalised chronotherapy."

Dr Kenneth Dyar, a circadian biologist from Helmholtz Munich, who helped design the study, added: "We all have an internal biological clock which determines our chronotype whether we are more of a morning or evening person. This internal time is genetically determined and affects biological functions over 24 hours, including gene expression, blood pressure rhythms and how we respond to medications.

"It's important for physicians to remember that not all patients are the same. Humans show wide inter-individual differences in their chronotype, and these personal differences are known to affect disease risk."

The authors of the study stressed that patients should continue taking their medications in accordance with their physician's advice.