Blacks, Whites Differ in Arthritis Treatment Concerns

Blacks more concerned with toxicity; whites focus more on likelihood of benefits

FRIDAY, April 10 (HealthDay News) -- Blacks and whites with rheumatoid arthritis attach greater importance to differing factors related to treatment, according to research published in the April 15 issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Florina Constantinescu, M.D., Ph.D., of the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., and colleagues analyzed data from 136 adults with rheumatoid arthritis, with a mean age of 55, who were roughly equally divided between white and black participants. Subjects provided their impressions on risks, benefits and other characteristics of treatments using a computer survey.

The investigators found that, while black patients were more concerned about toxicity risks, white patients attached more importance to the chance of benefits. The researchers report that blacks were more likely to be risk averse than whites (52 percent versus 12 percent); this was defined as placing more importance on the risk of toxicity than the likelihood of benefit. In a multivariate model, race was strongly linked to risk aversion (adjusted odds ratio, 8.4).

"Our study is important because, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to formally assess whether risk preference for therapy is one of the potential explanations of the lower use among African Americans of more effective, although more risky, therapy for a chronic disabling disease. Our study adds to the under-researched field of racial/cultural differences in risk/benefit perception and suggests an important influence of these differences on care-seeking and health disparities," the authors write.

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