Being a woman and being a person who gets sick quite easily, I’ve always kept medications handy. But I’ve also noticed that some medicines somehow don’t always have a favourable impact on me. Why? There’s a reason.
A study made by the researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of California, Berkeley has found out that women end up being overmedicated because drug dosages are calculated based on studies predominantly conducted on men.
For this study, researchers analyzed 5,000 publicly available clinical drug studies and identified 86 drugs that reacted differently in men and women. These medicines included commonly used drugs such as aspirin, morphine, and heparin, and widely prescribed antidepressants such as sertraline and bupropion.
Prof. Brian Prendergast, a UChicago psychologist and co-author of the study said,
For much of the time it’s been practiced, biomedical science has been done by men, on men. It even starts in the petri dish: Most cell lines used in early tests are male, and then drugs are tested on male lab animals. These drugs are optimized from the beginning to work on male bodies. We need to immediately reevaluate the widespread practice of prescribing the same doses to men and women.
It was found out that women metabolized them more slowly than men, ultimately resulting in higher levels of exposure to the drug in 96% of cases. They also experience more adverse side effects than men, even when drug dosages are adjusted for body weight. These side effects can range from headaches and nausea to bleeding and seizures.
From the research it was seen that in women, drugs remain in the blood and tissues longer than they do in men. The liver and kidneys also end up processing drugs at different rates in both of them and this continues even when the dosage is provided according to the weight of the patient.
The ‘one-size-fits-all’ dosage to both men and women is clearly not working out for everyone. To make things better for both the genders, it is necessary that this process changes.