Races Respond Differently to Asthma Drugs

Blacks may require slightly higher doses than whites, study suggests

MONDAY, Feb. 7, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Race may affect a person's response to asthma medications, according to a study in the February issue of the journal Chest.

The study of almost 400 patients with asthma and 202 patients without asthma found that asthmatic and non-asthmatic black Americans required higher doses of glucocorticoid medications to suppress lymphocytes, cells that play a major role in airway inflammation.

This finding led the researchers to speculate that blacks may be predisposed to diminished medication response, which could make their asthma control more difficult.

"Regardless of asthma status or severity, African-Americans in our study required higher doses of glucocorticoid than Caucasians to inhibit proliferation of these inflammatory cells," study lead author Dr. Ronina A. Covar, of the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, said in a prepared statement.

"This observation suggests that African-Americans may have an inherent predisposition that affects their ability to respond to certain medications at recommended doses," Covar said.

"Asthma continues to be a significant health concern in the United States, particularly among minority populations," Dr. Paul A. Kvale, president of the American College of Chest Physicians, said in a prepared statement. "By understanding how specific populations respond to asthma medication, health-care providers can provide the most effective treatments for these groups."

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about asthma.

SOURCE: American College of Chest Physicians, news release, Feb. 7, 2005
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