Psychopharmacological research ethics: Special issues affecting US ethnic minorities
This article is intended to explore how minority status and cultural factors affect the participation of subjects in clinical psychopharmacology research. A literature review was performed using key words "clinical psychopharmacology trials", "psychiatric ethics" and "minority groups". Major goals of this review were to examine current knowledge base and identify existing gaps in this fairly new area of psychiatric research. We found extremely few papers addressing the issue directly. Most references to minority groups were made peripherally, and many of these were extrapolated to psychiatric patients from work done on medical populations. We found no empirical studies done in psychiatric populations. Systematic, well-designed research studies are needed to elucidate how culture, race and ethnicity impact on such issues as accrual, retention, informed consent and safeguards against the potential exploitation of minority research subjects. On the basis of the literature review and our personal experience doing clinical research with minority patients, we provide several recommendations and specific suggestions to clinical researchers who include minority patients in their clinical trials.