1. A questionnaire, modified from Bulpitt & Dollery (1973), inquired about 20 symptoms commonly associated with hypertension or its drug therapy in 1017 subjects (age 30–69 years). Groups consisted of (a) active therapy, (b) placebo, (c) no tablets, and (d) a non-study control group. The response rate was 96% in the first three groups and 92% in group (d).

2. The subjects in groups (a), (b) and (c) constituted part of a placebo-controlled, patient-blind intervention study in the treatment of mild hypertension (The Australian National Blood Pressure Study).

3. After age/sex adjustment of the data, only sleepiness and self-assessed depression were found to be more common in the actively treated group. Impotence, failure of ejaculation and nocturia were age-related symptoms. Generally, complaint rate was higher in females.

4. The knowledge of a mild hypertensive condition or its modern drug therapy lead to very few symptoms in a non-hospital population who already have a fairly high ‘complaint level’.

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