Well-documented racial differences in drug response1- 3
have led to considerable debate about "racial profiling" of pharmacotherapy.4,5 Still, it is argued that race is a biologically meaningless term,4
and an understanding of physiology and the genetic underpinnings of drug response
is a better way to target therapy. Furthermore, an individualized approach
to pharmacotherapy with monitoring of patient response and modification of
therapy as necessary might be just as effective as race-guided therapy. Whether
to consider race in drug therapy has important implications for physicians,
drug developers, and regulators. In this issue of THE JOURNAL, Ahluwalia and
colleagues6 present the results of a clinical
trial of sustained-release bupropion hydrochloride (bupropion SR) to aid smoking
cessation in African American smokers treated at an inner-city community health
center. The study demonstrates efficacy of bupropion, but the study design
and resultant data raise questions about the ultimate value of pharmacotherapy
trials in racial and economic subgroups.
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