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Racial differences noted in response to heart drug.

Racial Differences Noted in Response to Heart Drug

Chinese men require significantly lower doses of a drug commonly used to treat high blood pressure than do white men, according to a recent study. The findings, taken with previous studies that have indicated that black men require larger doses of such drugs than do whites, point up the need for physicians to prescribe dosages based on individual patients.

The investigators, led by Hong-Hao Zhou, M.D., division of clinical pharmacology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., studied 10 Chinese men and 10 American white men. Subjects received varying doses of the drug, called propranolol, every eight hours for a 24-hour period. The effect of the drug was determined by measuring heart rate and blood pressure while the subjects were sitting, standing, and exercising on a treadmill. Dr. Zhou found that the Chinese men required half as much of the drug as the white men required to produce a given reduction in heart rate. Further, the researchers noted, the Chinese men needed between five and 10 times less of the drug than the whites to reduce blood pressure.

The reason the Chinese men were more sensitive to the drug than were the white subjects is unclear. Dr. Zhou speculated that Chinese men may have fewer receptor sites for the drug to bind to and pointed to the fact that more of the drug was found in the blood of the Chinese men than of the white men as support of this theory. The study discounts the popular "assumption that dosages determined in one population can be readily administered to a population with a different racial background," the researchers wrote.
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Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jun 22, 1989
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