Despite women purchasing and consuming more medications than men, most clinical drug research trials predominantly utilize male subjects.
As a result, women tend to be overmedicated and experience significantly more adverse drug reactions (ADRs) than men, according to researchers at the University of California Berkeley and the University of Chicago.
In the study, published in Biology of Sex Differences in 2020, scientists combed through data from about 5,000 medical research journal articles. They found evidence of a dosage sex bias in 86 medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including but not limited to antidepressants, anti-convulsant and heart medications, sleep aids, and analgesics.
The researchers found the differences in pharmacokinetics (PK)—or drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion between sexes—were strongly linked to different rates of ADRs. Of the 86 drugs assessed, 76 had higher PK values in women, meaning women metabolized and excreted them more slowly, increasing