Racial Disparities Widen in Use of Asthma Treatments

THURSDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- A new U.S. government report says a gap has developed between minority and white asthma patients when it comes to taking daily medication to prevent asthma attacks.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality said that black and white asthma patients used daily asthma medication at about the same rate in 2003 -- 29% to 30%. But by 2006, only 25% of black patients were taking the medicine, compared to about 34% of white patients.

A similar gap appeared between Hispanics and whites. Their medicine usage rate was about the same (28% to 31%) in 2003, but by 2006, just 23% of Hispanic asthma patients were using the medications, while about 35% of white patients were.

But the report also stated that the medication usage gap between higher-income people and lower-income people actually shrank between 2003 and 2006.

-- Randy Dotinga

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SOURCE: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, news release, May 11, 2010