This phase III, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group study compared the efficacy and safety of nifedipine controlled-release (CR) 40 mg twice daily (b.i.d.) and once daily (q.d.) in 325 Japanese patients with essential hypertension uncontrolled with nifedipine CR 40 mg q.d. (ClinicalTrials.gov record: NCT01287260). The primary endpoint was the change from baseline in trough seated diastolic blood pressure (DBP) after 8 weeks. Nifedipine CR 40 mg b.i.d. showed significantly greater reductions in trough seated DBP (-7.7±0.6 mm Hg vs. -3.6±0.6 mm Hg) and trough seated systolic blood pressure (BP) (-11.1±0.9 mm Hg vs. -3.7±0.9 mm Hg) after 8 weeks of treatment compared with nifedipine CR 40 mg q.d. (both P<0.0001). At week 8, BP target achievement and responder rates were higher with nifedipine CR 40 mg b.i.d. (21.5% and 42.4% vs. 10.3% and 19.5%, respectively). Adverse events considered related to the study drug were reported in 9.0 and 9.7% of patients receiving nifedipine CR 40 mg b.i.d. and q.d., respectively. The frequency of drug-related adverse events commonly reported with nifedipine CR (headache, hot flush, palpitations, peripheral edema, hypotension, dizziness, tachycardia) was low and the results were similar between the treatment groups. In conclusion, a higher dose of nifedipine CR was associated with greater efficacy and a safety profile similar to that of the currently approved dose (40 mg q.d.) in Japanese patients with essential hypertension, and it may offer a valuable treatment choice for patients who do not achieve target BP levels with standard treatment.