There is an increasing awareness of the need to manage multiple risk factors in hypertensive patients, and of possible adverse metabolic effects of antihypertensive drugs which may counteract their ability to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Data collected from the Austin Hospital Hypertension Clinic support previous observations that the incidence of cardiovascular risk factors such as plasma lipid abnormalities are high in hypertensive patients, and although it is becoming easier to control blood pressure in these patients, modification of other risk factors is difficult. The use of diuretics in doses lower than those conventionally prescribed has been advocated as a means of reducing the adverse metabolic effects. However, data from this study suggest that although low-dose hydrochlorothiazide therapy (25 to 50 mg/day) may be as effective as conventional doses of captopril in reducing blood pressure, adverse metabolic effects on plasma potassium, glucose and uric acid levels remain a problem. Indapamide, a relatively new diuretic when used at a fixed dose (2.5 mg/day), appears to be devoid of significant adverse metabolic effects and is a useful alternative to thiazide diuretics. An integrated approach to the management of multiple cardiovascular risk factors is important in hypertensive patients and should include nonpharmacologic methods and the selection of antihypertensive drugs that do not have adverse metabolic effects.