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Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2008 Nov;6(10):1357-66. doi: 10.1586/14779072.6.10.1357.

Race-based therapy for hypertension: possible benefits and potential pitfalls.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA. kferdinand@abcardio.org


Hypertension is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, which includes coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke. This article examines the possible benefits and potential pitfalls of utilizing race-based categories for antihypertensive therapy. Although the use of race and ethnicity to guide antihypertensive treatment is fraught with difficulty and is, to a large extent, inadequate, there may be benefit in recognizing specific aspects of race and ethnicity when approaching patients with hypertension. Evidence from clinical trials, including drug efficacy and safety comparisons and cardiovascular outcomes, has demonstrated some differences based on race/ethnicity. American federal standards strongly encourage capturing data on race/ethnicity, and most of the current data are available for self-described African-Americans. International studies increasingly identify race/ethnicity, although the data are not as robust as in US trials. Current guidelines recommend thiazide diuretics and/or long-acting calcium channel blockers as initial treatment for Blacks, although medications for compelling indications agents should be prescribed, regardless of race/ethnicity.

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