Long-term effects on plasma lipids of diet and drugs to treat hypertension. Treatment of Mild Hypertension Study (TOMHS) Research Group

JAMA. 1996 May 22-29;275(20):1549-56. doi: 10.1001/jama.1996.03530440029033.


Objective: - To compare long-term plasma lipid changes among 6 antihypertensive treatment interventions for stage I (mild) hypertension.

Design: - Multicenter, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group clinical trial.

Setting: - Four academic clinical research units in the United States.

Participants: - A total of 902 men and women, aged 45 to 69 years, with stage I diastolic hypertension (diastolic blood pressure <100 mm Hg), recruited from 11914 persons screened in their communities.

Interventions: - Participants were randomized to 1 of 6 treatment groups: (1) placebo, (2) beta-blocker (acebutolol), (3) calcium antagonist (amlodipine), (4) diuretic (chlorthalidone), (5) alpha1-antagonist (doxazosin), and (6) angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (enalapril). All groups received intensive lifestyle counseling to achieve weight loss, dietary sodium and alcohol reduction, and increased physical activity.

Main outcome measures: - Changes in plasma total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides from baseline to annual visits through 4 years.

Results: - Mean changes in all plasma lipids were favorable in all groups. The degree of weight loss with fat-modified diet and exercise was significantly related to favorable lipid changes. Significant differences (P<.01) among groups for average changes during follow-up in each lipid were observed. Decreases in plasma total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol were greater with doxazosin and acebutolol (for plasma total cholesterol, 0.36 and 0.30 mmol/L [13.8 and 11.7 mg/dL], respectively), less with chlorthalidone and placebo (0.12 and 0.13 mmol/L [4.5 and 5.1 mg/dL], respectively). Decreases in triglycerides were greater with doxazosin and enalapril, least with acebutolol. Increases in HDL cholesterol were greater with enalapril and doxazosin, least with acebutolol. Significant relative increases in plasma total cholesterol with chlorthalidone compared with placebo at 12 months were no longer present at 24 months and beyond, when mean plasma total cholesterol for the chlorthalidone group fell below baseline. Analyses of participants continuing to receive chlorthalidone throughout the 4 years of follow-up indicated this was not due solely to an increasing percentage of participants changing or discontinuing use of medication during follow-up.

Conclusions: - Weight loss with a fat-modified diet plus increased exercise produces favorable long-term effects on blood pressure and all plasma lipid fractions of adults with stage I hypertension; blood pressure reduction is enhanced to a similar degree by addition of a drug from any one of 5 classes of antihypertensive medication. These drugs differ quantitatively in influencing the degree of long-term favorable effects on blood lipids obtained with nutritional-hygienic treatment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acebutolol / pharmacology
  • Acebutolol / therapeutic use
  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Aged
  • Amlodipine / pharmacology
  • Amlodipine / therapeutic use
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Antihypertensive Agents / classification
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacology
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use
  • Chlorthalidone / pharmacology
  • Chlorthalidone / therapeutic use
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Diet, Sodium-Restricted
  • Diuretics / pharmacology
  • Diuretics / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Doxazosin / pharmacology
  • Doxazosin / therapeutic use
  • Enalapril / pharmacology
  • Enalapril / therapeutic use
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / blood
  • Hypertension / diet therapy*
  • Hypertension / drug therapy*
  • Linear Models
  • Lipids / blood*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Weight Loss


  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Lipids
  • Triglycerides
  • Amlodipine
  • Acebutolol
  • Enalapril
  • Cholesterol
  • Doxazosin
  • Chlorthalidone