Investigating the stratified efficacy and safety of pharmacological blood pressure-lowering: an overall protocol for individual patient-level data meta-analyses of over 300 000 randomised participants in the new phase of the Blood Pressure Lowering Treatment Trialists' Collaboration (BPLTTC)

BMJ Open. 2019 May 22;9(5):e028698. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-028698.


Introduction: Previous research from the Blood Pressure Lowering Treatment Trialists' Collaboration (BPLTTC) and others has shown that pharmacological blood pressure (BP)- lowering substantially reduces the risk of major cardiovascular events, including ischaemic heart disease, heart failure and stroke. In this new phase, the aim is to conduct individual patient-level data (IPD) meta-analyses involving eligible BP-lowering randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to address uncertainties relating to efficacy and safety of BP-lowering treatment.

Methods and analysis: RCTs investigating the effect of pharmacological BP-lowering, with a minimum of 1000 patient-years of follow-up in each trial arm, are eligible. Our systematic review identified 100 potentially eligible trials. We requested their investigators/sponsors to contribute baseline, follow-up and outcomes data. As of June 2018, the collaboration has obtained data from 49 trials (n=315 046 participants), with additional data currently in the process of being transferred from four RCTs (n=34 642 participants). In addition, data harmonisation has commenced. Scientific activities of the collaboration are overseen by the Steering Committee with input from all collaborators. Detailed protocols for individual meta-analyses will be developed and registered on public platforms.

Ethics and dissemination: Ethics approval has been obtained for this new and extended phase of the BPLTTC, the largest collaboration of de-identified IPD from RCTs. It offers an efficient and ethical manner of re-purposing existing data to answer clinically important questions relating to BP treatment as well as methodological questions relating to IPD meta-analyses. Among the immediate impacts will include reliable quantification of effects of treatment modifiers, such as baseline BP, age and prior disease, on both vascular and non-vascular outcomes. Analyses will further assess the impact of BP-lowering on important, but less well understood, outcomes, such as new-onset diabetes and renal disease. Findings will be published in peer-reviewed medical journals on behalf of the collaboration.

Keywords: blood pressure; efficacy and safety of bp lowering treatment; meta-analyses.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antihypertensive Agents