Ethnicity Affects Drug Response

Published Online: Friday, April 1, 2005

An analysis of steroid therapy for asthma showed that it is less effective for African Americans, compared with Caucasians. The findings may explain why asthma oftentimes appears worse in this ethnicity group. The study involved 395 participants with asthma and 202 healthy participants who underwent different tests to evaluate their responsiveness to steroids. Reporting in Chest (February 2005), the researchers found that 27% of the participants with asthma were African American as were 52% of those without asthma. The researchers concluded that the amount of steroid required to block immune cell production was greater in African Americans, compared with Caucasians. The finding was consistent in both the asthma and nonasthma groups.

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