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Race influences side effects of heart drugs

By Staff
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NEW YORK, May 6 (Reuters) Compared with patients of other ethnicities, black and East Asian patients are at increased risk for various adverse reactions when taking cardiovascular drugs, according to a report in the British Medical Journal.

Ethnic group ''may be one determinant of harms of a given treatment in the individual patient, either because it acts as a surrogate measure of genetic make up or because cultural factors alter the risk,'' senior author Dr Robin E Ferner and colleagues note.

Ferner, from City Hospital in Birmingham, UK, and colleagues pooled data from 24 studies to examine ethnic differences in the side effects of cardiovascular agents.

Black patients taking blood pressure lowering drugs called ACE inhibitors were three times more likely to develop angioedema -- localized swelling that usually affects the face, throat, lips or tongue -- than their non-black counterparts.

In addition, black ethnicity raised the risk of bleeding in the brain from clot-busting therapy by 50 per cent.

East Asian patients were also at heightened risk for side effects when taking cardiovascular drugs. In particular, they were nearly three times more likely to experience cough with ACE inhibitor therapy than were white patients.

The authors think future studies looking at cardiovascular agents should take into account the potential for different side effect profiles based on race.

Reuters DKS GC0928

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