Does Sex Matter?
Does sex really matter? It does in biomedical research. Recently (April 2001)
the Institute of Medicine--which advises Congress on medical and health policy--released
a report ["Exploring the Biological Contributions to Human Health: Does Sex
Matter?"] which called on medical researchers to pay more attention to important
sex differences when drugs and other medical treatments are both developed and
The Institute documented that differences between the sexes begin in the fetus
at the cellular level and continue to shape individual medical profiles throughout
the life span. These sex differences prevail from "womb to tomb," according
to the report. Therefore, the use of medications and medical treatments should
take these differences into account.
Because of this report, drug manufacturers and the Food and Drug Administration
must consider how to review clinical studies in men and women before they are
placed on the market. Why is this important? Of the 10 prescription drugs
withdrawn from the market since January 1997, eight drugs caused significantly
more adverse events in women than men.
The Society for Women's Health Research, which played a key role in supporting
the development of the report, strongly endorses the Institute of Medicine findings.
For more information, click here.
Created: 8/17/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.