Nwamaka Eneanya, MD: Racial, Gender Gaps in Treatment

NOVEMBER 11, 2019
Kenny Walter
The discrepancies in depression diagnosis and treatment for dialysis patients can be seen along gender and racial lines.

During the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Kidney Week in Washington, D.C., Nwamaka Eneanya, MD, assistant professor of Medicine, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, explained in an interview with MD Magazine® why this discrepancy exists and what can be done to close it.

 
MD Magazine: What was the impetus behind your study?

Eneanya: This study is really important because it addresses disparities in rates of depression diagnosis as well as rates of antidepressant use that is used to treat depression. So, we found that there are differences between genders and differences between races.

MD Magazine: What is the main take-home point of the study?


Eneanya: The main take-home was that we found that white women on dialysis were diagnosed with depression more often than white men. They're also diagnosed more often than black women and black men.

White women who had depression used antidepressants more than black women or white men that were depressed.

Also, white women were hospitalized more who were on antidepressants compared to white men, black women, and black men.

So, we thought that that was very interesting to see that discrepancy and it makes us want to do more research qualitative to see if are we screening patients appropriately or patients being treated with the right medications.

MD Magazine: Why does this discrepancy exist?

Eneanya: Well, it kind of trends the general population. The general population also has disparities in terms of who's diagnosed with depression.

There could be a number of things. Sometimes people aren't willing to share how they're feeling.

So, people may not diagnose them because they just don't know. Also, I think there's a lot of stigma with antidepressant medications and being on them and so one may or may not feel like that's right for them and may not be doing it because of the stigma associated with that.

MD Magazine: Do you believe the gap will eventually be closed?

Eneanya:  I absolutely would want the gap closed. We do what we want to make sur that people again are being diagnosed who have depression and are being treated appropriately.

I hope wholeheartedly that we can find the tools that are needed to do those effectively with research.

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