The ALLHAT blood pressure study had compared the effectiveness of four classes of medication in controlling blood pressure. Around 42,000 people aged 55 and above had taken part in the study, the results of which were published in Journal of the American Medical Association in December 2002. "It often takes years for the results of major studies to become part of standard health care," said NHLBI director Elizabeth G. Nabel, MD. "The results of ALLHAT and the clinical guidelines could have an enormous impact on the health of millions of Americans. We are confident that by playing a more active role in sharing the information, we will be able to put the results into action more quickly and more effectively."
The study had found in 2002 that diuretics were more effective in controlling high blood pressure than calcium channel blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, or alpha blockers. "Based on the results, the ALLHAT investigators recommend that in addition to lifestyle changes, diuretics should be the drug of choice for first line blood pressure treatment," said William C. Cushman, MD, chair of the ALLHAT Dissemination Committee and chief of Preventive Medicine at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Memphis. "Because most patients require more than one drug, diuretics should generally be part of any antihypertensive regimen." The ALLHAT was funded by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health. Main article: Hypertension guidelines: Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/hypertension/index.htm Contact: NHLBI Communications Office NHLBI_news@nhlbi.nih.gov NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute