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African-Americans may need more medication to control asthma

(NORTHBROOK, IL, February 7, 2005) - Racial differences may play a significant role in determining a patient's response to asthma medications. A new study in the February issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), shows that asthmatic and nonasthmatic African-Americans required higher doses of glucocorticoids to suppress lymphocytes, which play an important role in airway inflammation. As a result, researchers speculate that African-Americans may have a predisposition to a diminished medication response, which can contribute to more difficult asthma control among African-Americans.

"Regardless of asthma status or severity, African-Americans in our study required higher doses of a glucocorticoid than Caucasians to inhibit proliferation of these inflammatory cells," said the study's lead author Ronina A. Covar, MD, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, CO. "This observation suggests that African-Americans may have an inherent predisposition that affects their ability to respond to certain medications at recommended doses."

Researchers from the National Jewish Medical and Research Center and University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO, evaluated whether African-Americans have a racial predisposition to a diminished response to a glucocorticoid and whether there was a relationship between response to the glucocorticoid and other variables such as age, asthma duration, age at asthma diagnosis, lung function, and glucocorticoid requirement. In vitro testing was conducted on blood samples obtained from 395 patients with asthma (27 percent African-Americans) and 202 patients without asthma (52 percent African-Americans.)

Study results revealed that in African-American and Caucasian patients with asthma, who had similar degree of airflow limitation and comparable controller medication requirements, the African-American patients required greater concentration of the g
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Contact: Arielle Green
agreen@chestnet.org
847-498-8387
American College of Chest Physicians
7-Feb-2005


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