Scientists Reconsider Drug Dosages Based on Sex

Men and women are fundamentally different. No real revelation, it would seem, unless you’re considering what dosage of a medication to take or recommend to someone else.

New studies are beginning to show that real differences exist between the sexes when it comes to taking certain medications. This new information was prompted The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year. It recommends men and women take different dosages of the popular sleep aid, Ambien, and is causing scientists to call for a re-examination of medical research involving other drug dosages as well.

But despite the fact that many drugs are metabolized differently by men and women, Ambien is the only one currently on the market for which the FDA has implemented different recommended dosages based on sex, according to a 60 Minutes segment that aired on Feb. 9.

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Dr. Janna Massar

As Janna Massar, M.D., a physician on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano, pointed out, “More and more gender differences are being discovered throughout medicine, as highlighted in the 60 Minutes piece. When physicians such as myself started seeing sleep walking and sleep eating some time ago with Ambien, for instance, we wanted to dose differently but there were no guidelines to suggest we do so. We’re getting better about not assuming that men and women react the same to similar doses of medication but it will be interesting to see what continues to come out of research.”

“The most important thing we can do as a community is to get in front of our physicians on a regular basis to ensure we have the latest available information on the medications we are taking. And as a practitioner, what it comes down to in any situation is following best practices with our patients,” Dr. Massar added.

Texas Health Resources has partnered with the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health to help shed light on gender-based medicine. That partnership includes encouraging current and future health care providers to consider how sex and gender impact health and wellness.

Physicians on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital or Texas Health Resources.

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