Overviews (meta-analyses) of the major ongoing randomized trials of blood pressure lowering drugs will be conducted to determine the effects of: first, newer versus older classes of blood pressure lowering drugs in patients with hypertension; and second, blood pressure lowering treatments versus untreated or less treated control conditions in patient groups at high risk of cardiovascular events. The principal study outcomes are stroke, coronary heart disease, total cardiovascular events and total cardiovascular deaths. The overviews have been prospectively designed and will be conducted on individual patient data. The analyses will be conducted as a collaboration between the principal investigators of participating trials involving about 270,000 patients. Full data should be available in 2003, with the first round of analyses performed in 1999-2000. The combination of trial results should provide good statistical power to detect even modest differences between the effects on the main study outcomes.