Wednesday, October 21, 2015

80% of medications recalled for side effects are recalled for the side effects they have on women!

             I was shocked and confused when I learned this today.  Why are women experiencing so many more drug side effects than men?  The answer to this question is probably not what you think.  Before I answer this question, lets talk a little bit about what goes into testing a medication before it becomes available for prescription by your doctor.  First, there has to be problem or a disease.  Then, someone has to have an idea for a drug that can cure or treat this disease, along with millions of dollars in funding.  Testing typically starts with cells in a laboratory.  Once favorable results have been achieved at this stage, drugs are tested on animals.  Finally, human trials are conducted and if the outcomes are favorable here, the drug will become available for use by the public.  But what do all of these testing stages have in common?  All of the testing is done almost exclusively on male subjects1.  The cells in the lab are male cells; the animals are males, and the human test subjects are also almost exclusively males as well1. 
            This might not seem like that big a deal at first glance (which is what scientists have also believed up to this point) but we are now finding that certain drugs are metabolized completely differently by women than they are by men.  For example, an extensive study recently found that the recommended daily aspirin for people 45-65 of age to prevent heart disease can actually have very dangerous consequences for women2.  It has been recommended that even healthy individuals in this age group take a daily aspirin to help prevent the onset of cardiovascular disease.  We have recently learned that for women, the risks involved with this treatment far outweigh the benefits2.  Previously healthy women (no history of cardiovascular disease) who are placed on a daily aspirin regimen are at high risk for gastrointestinal bleeds that can cause severe anemia, and may even lead to a necessity for hospitalization and blood transfusions2.  Why are we just now learning this? Because the aspirin recommendation was made after testing was conducted on men.  It was just assumed that women would have the same benefit. 
            Realizing that women and men have very different physiology, and therefore very different needs when it comes to health care is vital when we consider what is in the best interest of our unique bodies.  For more information on this topic, read the original research below, or listen to the TED talk that I’ve cited below.  I highly recommend watching this video if you’d like more information on the topic.  For further questions or concerns, be sure to contact your health care provider.  Be sure to talk to him or her before altering your medications in any way. 


1.  McGregor, A.  (September 2014).  Alyson McGregor: Why medicine often has dangerous side effects for women [Video File].  Retrieved from:

2.  Kruijsdijk, R., Visseren, F., Ridker, P., Dorresteijn, J., Buring, J., van der Graff, Y., Cook, N. Individualised prediction of alternate-day aspirin treatment effects on the combined risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal bleeding in healthy women.  Heart.  2015; 101:5 333-334. 

3.  Fleming, Alesha.  Natural Health and Wellness Chiropractic., Daytona Beach, FL, 2015.

No comments:

Post a Comment