1. In patients with mild or moderate essential hypertension, oral propranolol, given in incremental doses, produced a moderate but significant lowering of blood pressure which was correlated with the concentration of propranolol in plasma.
2. Propranolol also reduced plasma renin activity (PRA) in the supine posture, on standing and after intravenous frusemide. However, ‘supine’ and ‘frusemide’ PRA values were markedly reduced at a plasma concentration of propranolol that had little effect on blood pressure.
3. On administration of propranolol there was little correlation between blood pressure decrease and PRA suppression, and even less between pretreatment PRA values and hypotensive response.
4. It is concluded that in patients with mild and moderate hypertension and low or normal plasma renin activity, suppression of PRA is not an important determinant of the hypotensive response to propranolol.