Blacks Tend To Have More Severe, Difficult-To-Treat Asthma

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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Genetics are likely a contributing factor behind generally higher asthma severity and poorer treatment response among blacks, according to a study in the September issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, Reuters reports. For the research, Tmirah Haselkorn of Genentech and colleagues analyzed the Epidemiology and Natural History of Asthma: Outcomes and Treatment Regimens study, which included data on 1,885 white patients and 243 black patients. The patients were treated by more than 400 specialists in lung diseases and allergies at 283 study sites across the nation.

According to the researchers, blacks were more likely to have more severe asthma than whites and also were more likely to be treated with three or more long-term controller drugs.

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Researchers found no differences in access to treatment, behavior or knowledge of the condition between the two groups. Researchers also ruled out any differences in socioeconomic status, drug therapy adherence, treatment setting, the presence of other diseases and other allergy measures as an explanation for the racial disparity. They concluded that a genetic component is likely why blacks generally have a poor response to asthma treatment.

The researchers suggested that their findings be used to help develop more effective asthma treatments and educational strategies for blacks. In addition, researchers called for future studies on the efficacy of asthma drugs to examine race and ethnicity as well (Reuters, 10/6).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Weekly Health Disparities Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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