Lower bronchodilator responsiveness in Puerto Rican than in Mexican subjects with asthma

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2004 Feb 1;169(3):386-92. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200309-1293OC. Epub 2003 Nov 14.


In the United States, Puerto Ricans and Mexicans have the highest and lowest asthma prevalence, morbidity, and mortality, respectively. To determine whether ethnicity-specific differences in therapeutic response, clinical response, and/or genetic factors contribute to differences in asthma outcomes, we compared asthma-related clinical characteristics among 684 Mexican and Puerto Rican individuals with asthma recruited from San Francisco, New York City, Puerto Rico, and Mexico City. Puerto Ricans with asthma had reduced lung function, greater morbidity, and longer asthma duration than did Mexicans with asthma. Bronchodilator responsiveness, measured as percentage change from baseline FEV1, was significantly lower among Puerto Ricans with asthma than among Mexicans with asthma. Puerto Ricans with asthma had on average 7.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 4.6 to 9.9; p < 0.001) lower bronchodilator reversibility in FEV1, higher risk of an emergency department visit in the previous year (odds ratio, 2.63; 95% CI, 1.6 to 4.3; p < 0.001), and of previous hospitalization for asthma (odds ratio, 1.94; 95% CI, 1.2 to 3.2; p = 0.009) than Mexicans. Subgroup analysis corroborated that Puerto Ricans with asthma had more severe disease than did Mexicans on the basis of lung function measurements, responsiveness to beta2-adrenergic agonists, and health care use. We conclude that Puerto Ricans with asthma respond less to albuterol than do Mexicans with asthma. These findings underscore the need for additional research on racial/ethnic differences in asthma morbidity and response to therapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / ethnology*
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans
  • Probability
  • Prognosis
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Bronchodilator Agents