The Pharmacologic Treatment of Anxiety and Depression in African Americans
Considerations for the General Practitioner
Tony L. Strickland, PhD;
Richard Stein, PhD;
Lin Keh-Ming, MD, MPH;
Emile Risby, MD;
Ronald Fong, MD
Arch Fam Med. 1997;6(4):371-375.
A growing pool of recent research points to the importance of ethnicity in psychopharmacologic management of depression and anxiety disorders, with sometimes profound implications for efficacy and safety. Such research has provided provocative findings that illustrate important interethnic pharmacogenetic, pharmacokinetic, and pharmacodynamic differences, especially for African Americans. We did a systematic literature review of psychopharmacologic treatment considerations among African Americans with anxiety and mood disturbance seen by primary care physicians, who provide most psychopharmacologic treatment. The findings commonly point to a greater percentage of "poor metabolizers" among African Americans compared with Euro-Americans. General treatment considerations include greater attention to adverse effects and better clinical response and poorer compliance for a given dose, potential need for lower starting doses and slower increases, use of plasma drug levels if available, determination of past responses to a similar drug, and integration of pharmacogenetic information into an overall socioculturally and ethnically sensitive approach to assessment and treatment.
From the Biobehavioral Research Center and Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (Drs Strickland and Stein) and the Division of Hypertension and Nephrology (Dr Fong), Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles, Calif; the School of Medicine, University of California-Los Angeles (Dr Strickland), Research Center on the Psychobiology of Ethnicity, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (Drs Strickland and Lin); and the Department of Psychiatry, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga (Dr Risby).
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