Blood Pressure Drugs Don't Discriminate
Blacks, Whites Respond Similarly to Blood Pressure Drugs
Feb. 26, 2004 -- Individual differences are much more important
than racial ones when it comes to prescribing drugs to treat high blood
pressure, according to a new study.
On average, researchers say blacks and whites may differ
slightly in their response to blood pressure lowering drugs, but they have much
more in common than previously thought.
A study published in the March issue of Hypertension
shows that the majority of blacks and whites have similar responses to the most
frequently used blood pressure lowering medications, including diuretics,
beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and ACE inhibitors.
Racial Differences in Blood Pressure Treatment
Researchers say that previous studies have emphasized racial
differences in blood pressure treatment. But those findings were based on
average rather than individual differences.
In this study, researcher Ashwini Sehgal, MD, of the Case
Western Reserve University School of Medicine, examined the results of all
clinical trials from the last 20 years that provided information on racial
differences in blood pressure treatment response.
The pooled data included information on the use of common blood
pressure lowering drugs in 9,307 whites and 2,902 blacks.
The study showed that 81%-95% of blacks and whites experienced
similar changes in blood pressure in response to each of the four groups of
commonly used medications.
"This meta-analysis found that race has little value in
predicting antihypertensive drug response, because whites and blacks overlap
greatly in their response to all categories of drugs," writes Sehgal.
In contrast, individual racial differences in drug responses
were much greater. For example, the average drug-related differences in
diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number of a blood pressure reading) change
between blacks and whites ranged from 0.6 to 3.0. But the differences within
each race ranged from 5.0 to 10.1.
Sehgal says the study "suggests that clinical decisions to
use a specific drug should be based not on race, but rather on other
considerations such as efficacy in individual patients, compelling indications,