Treatment Of Nocturnal Hypertension

Normal subjects have a diurnal variation in BP, with lower nocturnal BP. Patients with neurogenic OH have nocturnal hypertension. To minimize the problems of nocturnal hypertension, pressor medications should not be taken after 6 PM. The head of the bed should be elevated, resulting in lower intracranial BP. A nighttime snack with a glass of fluids (not coffee or tea) results in some postprandial hypotension, and can be used to increase fluid intake and decrease nocturnal hypertension. Patients who enjoy a glass of wine should drink it at this time for its vasodilator effect. Occasionally, it is not possible to control OH without marked nocturnal hypertension. For these patients, hydralazine (Apresoline), 25 mg, can be given at night. Because this drug has sodium-retaining properties, it is especially suitable. Alternatives include the angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor nifedipine (Procardia), 10 mg, or a nitroglycerin patch.

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