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PDF Protocol (PDF - 1.1 MB)
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PDF Variable Name Reference Guide (PDF - 1.3 MB)

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Prevention and Treatment of Hypertension Study (PATHS)

Clinical Trials URL:
Study Type: Clinical Trial
Prepared on October 29, 2009
Last Updated on June 23, 2005
Study Dates: September 1989 – September 1994
Consent: Unrestricted Consent
Commercial Use Restrictions: No
NHLBI Division: DCVS
Collection Type: Open BioLINCC Study - See bottom of this webpage for request information


To determine whether blood pressure is reduced for at least 6 months with an intervention to lower alcohol intake in moderate to heavy drinkers with above optimal to slightly elevated diastolic blood pressure, and whether reduction of alcohol intake can be maintained for 2 years.


Numerous observational epidemiologic studies have established ethanol intake as one of the most important determinants of blood pressure levels. However, data from intervention studies were very limited. The study was an inter-agency agreement involving the Veterans Administration and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Protocol development occurred between October 1988 and June 1989. The protocol was approved by the VA Cooperative Studies Evaluation Committee in July 1989 and reviewed by a separate Data and Safety Monitoring Board in September 1989.


Six hundred forty-one outpatient veterans with an average intake of 3 or more alcoholic drinks per day in the 6 months before entry into the study and with diastolic blood pressure 80 to 99 mm Hg were randomly assigned to a cognitive-behavioral alcohol reduction intervention program or a control observation group for 15 to 24 months. The goal of the intervention was the lower of 2 or fewer drinks daily or a 50% reduction in intake. A subgroup with hypertension was defined as having a diastolic blood pressure of 90 to 99 mm Hg, or 80 to 99 mm Hg if recently taking medication for hypertension.


The 1.3 drinks per day average difference between changes in self-reported alcohol intake observed in this trial produced only small nonsignificant effects on blood pressure. The results from the Prevention and Treatment of Hypertension Study (PATHS) do not provide strong support for reducing alcohol consumption in nondependent moderate drinkers as a sole method for the prevention or treatment of hypertension.


Cushman WC, Cutler JA, Hanna E, Bingham SF, Follmann D, Harford T, Dubbert P, Allender PS, Dufour M, Collins JF, Walsh SM, Kirk GF, Burg M, Felicetta JV, Hamilton BP, Katz LA, Perry HM Jr, Willenbring ML, Lakshman R, Hamburger RJ. Prevention and Treatment of Hypertension Study (PATHS): effects of an alcohol treatment program on blood pressure. Arch Intern Med. 1998 Jun 8;158(11):1197-207.