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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

New data highlights why ‘medical misogyny’ across healthcare must go under the microscope

Health Industry Hub | December 14, 2022 |

Pharma News: Women are up to 75% more likely to experience adverse reactions to prescription drugs compared to men because of a range of differences in traits between the sexes, according to a new study from The Australian National University and Liverpool John Moores University.

viously thought to be due to differences in body weight, but the reality is not that simple.

“It is not about body weight, so drug reactions are unlikely to be alleviated by adjusting the dosage on that basis.”

The analyses recovered sex differences in many traits that cannot be explained by body weight differences. Some examples are physiology traits, such as iron levels and body temperature, morphology traits such as lean mass and fat mass, and heart traits such as heart rate variability.

According to the researchers, we know much less about how women experience disease.

“Most biomedical research has been conducted on male cells or male animals. It has been assumed any results will apply to females as well,” Dr Wilson said.

“But we know men and women experience disease differently, including how diseases develop, the length and severity of symptoms and effectiveness of treatment options.”

Women are often worse off as a result.

“For example, crushing chest pain is often cited as a primary symptom of heart attack. While this might be common for men, it’s a much less common symptom for women. Women are more likely to experience intense nausea.

RACGP President Dr Nicole Higgins said that researchers and policy makers should play close attention to the ANU study.

“The timing of this study is opportune because the Albanese Government has just established a National Women’s Health Advisory Council, of which I will act as special adviser. In this role, I will draw attention to research such as this ANU study and make sure that women’s healthcare is front of mind for researchers and politicians. As Dr Wilson warns, women are not just smaller versions of men, and we can’t forget that.”

The Council, to be chaired by Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney, will provide advice to improve the nation’s health system for women and girls, including healthcare offered in relation to menstruation, reproductive options, menopause, medical consent, and pain management.

Dr Higgins added “As a nation, we must address inequalities in healthcare and that includes the treatment and care of women and girls and the research that underlies that care. I look forward to driving change in women’s healthcare in Australia and ensuring that action is taken to improve health outcomes for all women.”

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