A retrospective chart analysis was conducted on all new elderly hypertensive patients referred to a community hypertension clinic who were being treated with either reserpine or alpha-methyldopa plus a diuretic. There were no significant differences between the two groups on entry in age, gender, co-morbid diagnoses, or systolic or diastolic blood pressure. There were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of side effects over three years, but the proportion of persons having compliance problems was significantly lower in the reserpine group. Mean diastolic pressures were significantly lower after one, two, and three years, and systolic pressures were lower after one and two years in the reserpine group. Reserpine is at least as effective as alpha-methyldopa in treating hypertension in the elderly and is associated with fewer problems in compliance.