Ethnic Considerations

Besides cultural differences, there are also ethnic and racial differences in the physiological response to drugs. As you'll recall from Chapter 2, pharmacogenetics is the study of the influence genetics have on a drug response. For example children with Reyes Syndrome, which is a liver disease, cannot metabolize aspirin because of a genetic defect.

Likewise, a genetic factor in African-Americans makes them less responsive to beta-blocking agents used in cardiac and antihypertensive medications. Asians have a genetic factor that causes undesirable side effects when given the typical dose of benzodiazepines (diazepam [Valium]) alprazolam [Xanax], tricyclic antidepressants, atropine, and propranol [Inderal]. Therefore, a lower dose must be given.

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