Researchers uncover gender differences in reports of adverse drug reactions

In a British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study, investigators uncovered numerous gender differences in reports of adverse drug reactions sent to the National Pharmacovigilance Centre in the Netherlands.

The reports in the study were submitted by healthcare professionals as well as patients. In 2,483 distinct combinations of drugs and adverse drug reactions, discrepancies were found 363 times (15 percent). In 89 percent, the reports related more often to women. Drugs with the highest number of adverse drug reactions that were more often reported for women included thyroid hormones and antidepressants.

"Presumably the reason for these differences are both sex-related and gender-related factors," said senior author Dr. E.P. van Puijenbroek, of the Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre Lareb, in The Netherlands. Sex-related factors refer to biological differences between women and men, whereas gender-related factors refer to psychosocial, behavioral or cultural differences. "These aspects need to be considered when evaluating the safety of drugs."

The findings may ultimately lead to gender-specific prescribing of drugs or updated monitoring recommendations based on gender.

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