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Invited Commentary
Practice Gaps
November 2014

The Lack of Information in Racial and Ethnic Minorities and Their Response to Therapeutics

Author Affiliations
  • 1Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(11):1234. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.1772

Every schoolchild in the United States learns the line from the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal.” The aforementioned statement addresses certain inalienable rights. Yet, from a medical standpoint, are we all the same, do we manifest disease the same way, and do we respond to treatments equally?

In the past, clinical trials were conducted on limited populations, and extrapolations were made to the entire community. Yet, it is becoming clear from studies outside dermatology that different populations may respond differentially to therapeutic interventions. Men and women, for instance, do not respond equally to low-dose aspirin for prevention of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease.1 Racial differences do occur and are meaningful in the response to antihypertensive agents.2

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