Obesity is the major risk factor for the development of hypertension. This association accentuates the risk of cardiovascular disease, as it is frequently accompanied by the components of the metabolic syndrome. This randomised open parallel study evaluated the chronic effects of moxonidine – a selective imidazoline receptor agonist – on blood pressure, plasma catecholamines, leptin, insulin and components of the metabolic syndrome in obese hypertensives. Amlodipine was used as the control drug. Our results showed that moxonidine and amlodipine significantly reduced blood pressure when measured using the oscillometric method and 24-hour blood pressure monitoring. Moxonidine therapy decreased systolic blood pressure from 160.4 ± 2.4 to 142.1 ± 3.3 mmHg (p < 0.005) and diastolic blood pressure from 102.4 ± 1.3 to 89.7 ± 1.6 mmHg (p < 0.005) after 24 weeks of treatment. Moxonidine administration reduced the supine arterial plasma levels of adrenaline from 63.2 ± 6.6 to 49.0 ± 6.7 pg/ml (p < 0.005), the supine arterial plasma levels of noradrenaline from 187.9 ± 10.7 to 149.7 ± 13.2 pg/ml (p < 0.01) and the orthostatic venous plasma levels of noradrenaline from 258.6 ± 25.0 to 190.3 ± 16.4 pg/ml (p = 0.03). Those variables were not changed by amlodipine. The plasma levels of leptin and insulin 120 min after a glucose load decreased after moxonidine administration from 27.2 ± 3.5 to 22.6 ± 2.9 pg/ml (p < 0.05) and from 139.7 ± 31.2 to 76.0 ± 15.2 U/ml (p < 0.05), respectively. Amlodipine, however, did not modify those variables. This study showed a comparable reduction in blood pressure with both antihypertensive drugs. Moxonidine decreased sympathetic nervous activity, improved insulin resistance and reduced the plasma levels of leptin.