The Losartan Intervention For End point reduction in hypertension (LIFE) study showed superiority of losartan over atenolol for reduction of composite risk of cardiovascular death, stroke, and myocardial infarction in hypertensives with left ventricular hypertrophy. We compared hazard ratios (HR) in 4287 and 685 participants who reported intakes of 1-7 and >8 drinks/week at baseline, respectively, with those in 4216 abstainers, adjusting for gender, age, smoking, exercise, and race. Within categories, clinical baseline characteristics, numbers randomized to losartan and atenolol, and blood pressure (BP) lowering were similar on the drug regimens. Overall BP control (<140/90 mmHg) at end of follow-up was similar in the categories. Composite end point rate was lower with 1-7 (24/1000 years; HR 0.87, P<0.05) and >8 drinks/week (26/1000 years; HR 0.80, NS) than in abstainers (27/1000 years). Myocardial infarction risk was reduced in both drinking categories (HR 0.76, P<0.05 and HR 0.29, P<0.001, respectively), while stroke risk tended to increase with >8 drinks/week (HR 1.21, NS). Composite risk was significantly reduced with losartan compared toZ atenolol only in abstainers (HR 0.81 95% confidence interval, CI (0.68, 0.96), P<0.05), while benefits for stroke risk reduction were similar among participants consuming 1-7 drinks/week (HR 0.73, P<0.05) and abstainers (HR 0.72, P<0.01). Despite different treatment benefits, alcohol-treatment interactions were nonsignificant. In conclusion, moderate alcohol consumption does not change the marked stroke risk reduction with losartan compared to atenolol in high-risk hypertensives. Alcohol reduces the risk of myocardial infarction, while the risk of stroke tends to increase with high intake. © 2004 Nature Publishing Group All rights reserved.