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By incorporating ethnopharmacology in their everyday practices, health care professionals can improve their quality of care to African Americans. Also referred to as cross-cultural pharmacology, ethnic pharmacology, inter-ethnic pharmacology, and transcultural pharmacology, ethnopharmacology involves the study of how varying ethnicities respond to different drugs. It is particularly important to the African American population, which has shown opposing reactions to several medications than other ethnic groups. Note that for research purposes, African Americans are generally referred to as “blacks.”

In general, ethnopharmacology studies have concentrated on two main groups: psychotropic and cardiovascular medications, with the former addressing mental health and the latter focusing on heart complications. For example, studies have shown that African American patients may need smaller doses of the psychotropic medication lithium–which is used ...

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