Melatonin Shown to Stabilize BP, HR in Elderly
According to a study published in Current Aging Science, melatonin may be a useful adjuvant medication to stabilize circadian rhythms and blood pressure in elderly patients.
As people age, circadian rhythms tend to get disrupted as blood pressure increases and becomes more irregular. The 3-week study included 97 normotensive and hypertensive adults aged 63–91 years old. They stayed at the Tyumen Elderly Veteran House on a self-chosen sleep-wake regimen to suit their convenience.
After 1 control week, 63 participants received melatonin (Melaxen) 1.5mg daily at 10:30pm for 2 weeks and the other 34 patients were given placebo. Their systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate were measured at 3am, 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm, and 11pm each day of the 1st and 3rd week. Rhythm characteristics were estimated by means of single and population-mean cosinor analyses; rhythm parameters and physiologic variables were compared between groups by means of the Bingham test.
Melatonin was found to significantly reduce blood pressure with a more robust hypotensive effect seen between 3am–8am — the time of highest risk of adverse cardiovascular events — and among participants with the highest blood pressure values prior to treatment. In addition, the morning increase in heart rate was "gentler," which may have been an additional benefit of melatonin treatment.
Melatonin exerted a direct hypotensive effect and stabilized the "internal temporal order enhancing the circadian component and the synchronization between rhythms of different physiological functions," noted the study's authors. Adjuvant melatonin may benefit the health of elderly patients, particularly those with hypertension.
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