How’s your blood pressure?

New research in the U.S. has found that post menopausal women who earlier used oral contraceptives tend to have higher diastolic blood pressure readings, and may be at increased risk for the development of heart disease. The study found that more than 24 percent of those who have used the birth control pill tended to have higher readings of diastolic pressure.

Those who have already been diagnosed with high blood pressure will be interested in a new “circadian” treatment announced last week in Toronto. “Chronovera” is the first blood pressure medication designed to use chronobiology, the study of the human body’s natural clock, to treat cardiovascular disease.

Taken once a day, just before bedtime, the new drug provides 24-hour blood pressure control, but is designed to deliver peak concentrations of the active ingredient verapamil in the morning, when blood pressure, heart rate and incidence of cardiovascular events are highest.

“Chronovera is a major medical advance because it manages such cardiovascular diseases as hypertension and angina in concert with the body’s circadian variations,” says Dr. Gaston Labrecque, chronobiologist and professor of pharmacology at LavaUniversity. “This will better manage certain daily variations in body functions to reduce the potential risk of adverse events and outcomes for the patient.”

The new science of treating certain diseases that follow these circadian patterns is known as “chronotherapeutics” and is showing success in the management of certain conditions, including arthritis, asthma, and cardiovascular disease.