Beyond their effects on blood pressure, antihypertensive agents may produce additional effects on blood rheology and arterial compliance abnormalities which may play a role in the target organ damage. These effects may depend only on their specific pharmacological properties. We compared the effects of nitrendipine to hydrochlorothiazide in 33 mild to moderate hypertensives in a double blind parallel group trial. Blood rheology and radial artery diameter and compliance were measured at t=0 and t=2 months. Both drugs produced blood pressure lowering. Blood viscosity decreased in the nitrendipine group and increased in the hydrochlorothiazide patients. Red blood cells deformability increased only in the nitrendipine group. Radial artery diameter and compliance were not different between the two groups but there was a trend to an increase of the cross-sectional compliance in hydrochlorothiazide group and to a decrease in nitrendipine group. Our data show that a calcium antagonist (Nitrendipine) could improve rheological parameters.