Race Not Key in Choosing Blood Pressure
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