Gender Differences in Medications

Posted by Admin on May 25, 2007
Women need to be aware that certain medications have different gender related effects. A survey released by the Society for Women's Health Research found that although most American women read the labels of their prescribed drugs regarding sex differences, many do not discuss the issue with their doctors. President of the society, Phyllis Greenberger, says that doctors may not have the complete answers but asking them about these issues may help doctors to think carefully about gender differences in medications. The important question to ask is - is there any a known efficacy difference, or negative side effects, that are more common in or only applicable to women.

The survey found that over 58% of women "always" or "most of the time" read labels for gender related differences, but nearly 64% "almost" or "never" asked doctors about potential differences. About half of women surveyed believe a drug's effectiveness can vary between the sexes, while a more than a third believed such differences do not exist.

It is not always clear why drugs affect men and women differently but the rate at which drugs are metabolized may be a factor. Women have, on average, lower body weight, higher percent body fat, smaller organs, and reduced blood flow compared to men. Women need to be aware of these issues and actively question their health care providers.

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