Influence of circadian time of hypertension treatment on cardiovascular risk: results of the MAPEC study

Chronobiol Int. 2010 Sep;27(8):1629-51. doi: 10.3109/07420528.2010.510230.


Clinical studies have documented morning-evening, administration-time differences of several different classes of hypertension medications in blood pressure (BP)-lowering efficacy, duration of action, safety profile, and/or effects on the circadian BP pattern. In spite of these published findings, most hypertensive subjects, including those under combination therapy, are instructed by their physicians and pharmacists to ingest all of their BP-lowering medications in the morning. The potential differential reduction of cardiovascular (CVD) morbidity and mortality risk by a bedtime versus upon-awakening treatment schedule has never been evaluated prospectively. The prospective MAPEC study was specifically designed to test the hypothesis that bedtime chronotherapy with ≥1 hypertension medications exerts better BP control and CVD risk reduction than conventional therapy, i.e., all medications ingested in the morning. A total of 2156 hypertensive subjects, 1044 men/1112 women, 55.6 ± 13.6 (mean ± SD) yrs of age, were randomized to ingest all their prescribed hypertension medications upon awakening or ≥1 of them at bedtime. At baseline, BP was measured at 20-min intervals from 07:00 to 23:00 h and at 30-min intervals at night for 48 h. Physical activity was simultaneously monitored every min by wrist actigraphy to accurately determine the beginning and end of daytime activity and nocturnal sleep. Identical assessment was scheduled annually and more frequently (quarterly) if treatment adjustment was required. Despite lack of differences in ambulatory BP between groups at baseline, subjects ingesting medication at bedtime showed at their last available evaluation significantly lower mean sleep-time BP, higher sleep-time relative BP decline, reduced prevalence of non-dipping (34% versus 62%; p < .001), and higher prevalence of controlled ambulatory BP (62% versus 53%; p < .001). After a median follow-up of 5.6 yrs, subjects ingesting ≥1 BP-lowering medications at bedtime exhibited a significantly lower relative risk of total CVD events than those ingesting all medications upon awakening (0.39 [0.29-0.51]; number of events 187 versus 68; p < .001). The difference between the treatment-time groups in the relative risk of major events (including CVD death, myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, and hemorrhagic stroke) was also highly statistically significant (0.33 [0.19-0.55]; number of events: 55 versus 18; p < .001). The progressive decrease in asleep BP and increase in sleep-time relative BP decline towards a more normal dipping pattern, two novel therapeutic targets requiring proper patient evaluation by ambulatory BP, were best achieved with bedtime therapy, and they were the most significant predictors of event-free survival. Bedtime chronotherapy with ≥1 BP-lowering medications, compared to conventional upon-waking treatment with all medications, more effectively improved BP control, better decreased the prevalence of non-dipping, and, most importantly, significantly reduced CVD morbidity and mortality.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antihypertensive Agents* / administration & dosage
  • Antihypertensive Agents* / pharmacology
  • Antihypertensive Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Biological Clocks / physiology
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / mortality
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / drug therapy
  • Hypertension* / physiopathology
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antihypertensive Agents