Diuretic versus alpha-blocker as first-step antihypertensive therapy: final results from the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT)

Hypertension. 2003 Sep;42(3):239-46. doi: 10.1161/01.HYP.0000086521.95630.5A. Epub 2003 Aug 18.


The Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial (ALLHAT) was a randomized, double-blind, active, controlled clinical trial conducted to determine whether newer antihypertensive agents, including doxazosin, an alpha-blocker, differ from chlorthalidone, a diuretic, with respect to coronary heart disease (CHD) and other cardiovascular disease (CVD) events in hypertensive patients at high risk of CHD. In February 2000, the doxazosin treatment arm was discontinued, and findings through December 1999 were reported. This report includes an additional 9232 participant-years and 939 CVD events. At 623 clinical centers, patients (aged >or=55 years) with hypertension and at least 1 other CHD risk factor were randomly assigned to either chlorthalidone or doxazosin. The primary outcome measure was the combined occurrence of fatal CHD or nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI), analyzed by intent to treat; prespecified secondary outcome measures included all-cause mortality, stroke, combined CHD (fatal CHD, nonfatal MI, hospitalized angina, and coronary revascularization), and combined CVD (combined CHD, stroke, angina treated outside the hospital, heart failure, and peripheral arterial disease). Mean follow-up was 3.2 years. There was no difference in primary outcome between the arms (relative risk [RR], 1.02; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.92 to 1.15). All-cause mortality also did not differ (RR, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.94 to 1.13). However, the doxazosin arm compared with the chlorthalidone arm had a higher risk of stroke (RR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.10 to 1.46) and combined CVD (RR 1.20; 95% CI, 1.13 to 1.27). These findings confirm the superiority of diuretic-based over alpha-blocker-based antihypertensive treatment for the prevention of CVD.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Chlorthalidone / therapeutic use*
  • Coronary Disease / complications
  • Coronary Disease / prevention & control
  • Diuretics / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Doxazosin / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Hypertension / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / prevention & control
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists
  • Diuretics
  • Doxazosin
  • Chlorthalidone