Purpose of review: Many studies show that the extent of the nocturnal blood-pressure decline is deterministic of cardiovascular injury and risk. Accordingly, there is growing interest in how to tailor the treatment of hypertensive patients according to their circadian blood-pressure pattern.
Recent findings: Differences in efficacy depending on the time of day of drug administration lead to differences in effects of antihypertensive drugs on the nocturnal decline relative to the diurnal mean of blood pressure. Thus, bedtime dosing with nifedipine gastrointestinal therapeutic system (GITS) is more effective than morning dosing, while also reducing significantly secondary effects. Bedtime administration of trandolapril results in a safe and effective means of controlling morning blood pressure without inducing excessive reduction nocturnally. The dose-response curve, therapeutic coverage, and efficacy of doxazosin GITS are all markedly dependent on the circadian time of drug administration. Moreover, valsartan administration at bedtime as opposed to upon wakening results in improved day/night blood-pressure ratio, a significant increase in the percentage of controlled patients after treatment, and a significant reduction in urinary albumin excretion.
Summary: Nocturnal hypertension increases one's risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events, nephrosclerosis, and progression to end-stage kidney failure in renal patients. Normalization of the circadian blood-pressure pattern is considered an important clinical goal of pharmacotherapy because it may slow the advance of renal injury. Chronotherapy provides a means of individualizing treatment of hypertension according to the circadian blood-pressure profile of each patient, and constitutes a new option in optimizing blood-pressure control and reducing risk.