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Hypertension & Stroke

From the Current Issue

New Research:
Race Not Key in Choosing Blood Pressure Drugs

Although studies have suggested that blacks and whites have different responses to different blood pressure medications, new research indicates race is not a good predictor of how a person will fare on a drug.

The review of 15 clinical trials over the past 20 years found that 80% to 95% of black and white patients showed similar responses to commonly used high blood pressure drugs. Although there were some differences in medication responses by race, the differences among individuals of the same race were much greater.

This, the study’s author concludes, suggests that medication decisions should be based on factors such as a patient’s overall health—and not race. For example, ACE inhibitors are an antihypertensive drug of choice for people with chronic kidney disease, regardless of their race.

The potential importance of race in blood pressure treatment has been suggested by evidence that, on average, white patients respond better than blacks do to ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers, while black patients fare better on diuretics and calcium channel blockers. But the new findings suggest that while there may be some small differences on average, race has “little value” in predicting how any one person will respond to any single medication.

Volume 43, page 566
March 2004


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Hypertension & Stroke

The Hypertension and Stroke White Paper from the Johns Hopkins White Papers series is an annual, in-depth report written by Johns Hopkins physicians.



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