"This is the largest hypertension trial to date," Cushman said.
Earlier results from ALLHAT had also found that diuretics were as good or better than other blood pressure-lowering drugs for treating hypertension in patients with metabolic syndrome (a collection of factors that put people at risk of heart disease), especially black patients.
"None of the newer drugs were superior to chlorthalidone for reducing death from cardiovascular disease or end-stage renal disease, although the calcium channel blocker was very similar," Cushman stated.
Strokes were much more common in black study participants taking the newer drugs, and patients on the calcium channel blocker had much higher rates of heart failure.
Cushman also presented some 10-year follow-up data, which were essentially the same as the five-year data. No new adverse events cropped up, he noted.
"Chlorthalidone treatment is superior to each in preventing one or more major cardiovascular events as long as participants continued taking the drug," he said.
The American Heart Association has more on high blood pressure.
SOURCES: Nov. 18, 2009, news conference with William Cushman, M.D., professor and chief of preventive medicine, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Memphis, Tenn.; Clyde Yancy, M.D., president, American Heart Association; Nov. 18, 2009, presentation, American Heart Association annual meeting, Orlando, Fla.
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