BACKGROUND: Torasemide (Torem(R)) is a newly developed loop diuretic. This study was aimed to assess the antihypertensive effect and safety of torasemide. METHOD: Twenty patients (14 male and 6 female, 58+/-10 years) diagnosed as essential hypertension at the Chonnam National University Hospital were included in this study. Torasemide 5 mg once a day was administered orally for 8 weeks. The dose of torasemide was increased up to 10 mg if the diastolic blood pressure exceeded 90 mmHg after a two weeks' treatment period. Additive antihypertensives were administered if diastolic blood pressure was more than 90 mmHg after more two weeks treatment period. During a follow-up period, laboratory findings and clinical symptoms were evaluated. RESULTS: After 8 weeks of torasemide therapy, mean reduction of systolic, diastolic, and mean blood pressure was 21.8+/-7.1 mmHg, 12.6+/-6.2 mmHg and 16.5+/-7.4 mmHg respectively (systolic: 162.8+/-14.9 to 141.0+/-13.7, diastolic: 101.7+/-8.0 to 89.1+/-5.5, mean: 122.1+/-8.5 to 106.4+/-7.4 mmHg, P<0.05)). Effective antihypertensive effect was documented in 18 (90%) of the 20 patients. Torasemide was well tolerated without significant adverse reactions and laboratory changes in all the patients. CONCLUSION: Torasemide 5-10 mg once a day is effective and safe in the treatment of essential hypertension.