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Serevent, a widely prescribed inhaled asthma treatment, may pose a special risk to african americans.

Newly released details from a safety trial that was stopped early reveal that respiratory-related deaths or life-threatening events occurred four times as often among blacks who took Serevent than among blacks who did not take the drug.

The findings, first reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2003, led the regulatory agency to require a black-box warning on the labeling for Serevent and the similar GlaxoSmithKline asthma drug Advair.

The warning notes that use of the drug in the study led to a “small but significant increase in asthma-related deaths.” A separate box also states, “Data from this study further suggests that the risk might be greater in African-American patients.”

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