Purpose: Nocturnal hypertension is associated with a high risk of morbidity and mortality. A blunted nocturnal surge in melatonin excretion has been described in nondipping hypertensive patients. We therefore studied the potency of melatonin to reduce nighttime blood pressure (BP) in treated hypertensive patients with nocturnal hypertension.
Patients and methods: Thirty-eight treated hypertensive patients (22 males, mean age 64+/-11 years) with confirmed nocturnal hypertension (mean nighttime systolic BP >125 mm Hg), according to repeated 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM), were randomized in a double-blind fashion to receive either controlled release (CR)-melatonin 2 mg or placebo 2 hours before bedtime for 4 weeks. A 24-hour ABPM was then performed.
Results: Melatonin treatment reduced nocturnal systolic BP significantly from 136+/-9 to 130+/-10 mm Hg (P=.011), and diastolic BP from 72+/-11 to 69+/-9 mm Hg (P=.002), whereas placebo had no effect on nocturnal BP. The reduction in nocturnal systolic BP was significantly greater with melatonin than with placebo (P=.01), and was most prominent between 2:00 AM and 5:00 AM (P=.002).
Conclusions: Evening CR-melatonin 2 mg treatment for 4 weeks significantly reduced nocturnal systolic BP in patients with nocturnal hypertension. Thus, an addition of melatonin 2 mg at night to stable antihypertensive treatment may improve nocturnal BP control in treated patients with nocturnal hypertension.