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Patient preferences play role in racial disparities in rheumatoid arthritis treatment
Date:4/7/2009

Racial disparities in the delivery of healthcare occur even among insured populations with access to care. This suggests that some of the differences in health care utilization among different racial groups may be due to patient preferences. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treatment decisions are frequently complex, requiring multiple trade-offs between symptom relief, long-term reduction of disability, adverse events and serious complications. A new study examined whether African American and white patients with RA differ in how they make trade-offs between risks and benefits related to treatment. The study was published in the April issue of Arthritis Care & Research (http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/77005015/home).

Led by Dr. Liana Fraenkel of Yale University, researchers examined how 136 RA patients made trade-offs about specific treatment characteristics related to commonly used RA drugs. These included benefits such as the chance of remission or symptom improvement, and risks such as side effects and theoretical risk of cancer. They analyzed how patients made trade-offs in treatment decisions to determine how respondents value specific characteristics.

The results showed that there were significant differences in the ways that African American and white patients evaluated treatment characteristics. African American patients, who comprised 49 percent of the study sample, attached greater importance to the risk of toxicity, particularly for rare, serious adverse events, and less importance to the likelihood of benefit than white patients. For example, African Americans assigned the greatest importance to the theoretical risk of cancer, whereas white patients were most concerned with the likelihood of remission and halting radiographic progression.

Until now, it has been widely believed that differences in treatment by race can be corrected by changes
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Contact: Sean Wagner
medicalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.com
781-388-8550
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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