Kidney drugs aid blacks


A major class of blood-pressure medication works as well in black patients as their white counterparts and could spare kidney function in those who take it, doctors reported last week. For years, ACE inhibitors have been studied in large populations, but few blacks were ever included among the thousands of patients in clinical trials.

Researchers, led by a team at Case Western Reserve University’s medical school in Cleveland, counted only 53 blacks in a major study of the drug conducted in the 1990s, for instance. This despite higher rates of high blood pressure and kidney failure among that population. Blacks make up more than 25% of the nearly 400,000 people on kidney dialysis.

Writing in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Assn., Dr. Jackson Wright Jr. of Case Western said black patients are six times more likely than whites to develop end-stage kidney disease, a condition that leaves patients with few options other than dialysis and kidney transplantation.

With the new results culled from a study called the African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension, Wright said, many black patients may be able avoid those fates entirely. “This was an exciting finding,” said Wright, lead investigator of the medication analysis in 1,094 black patients between the ages of 18 and 70.