Sex-specific cardiovascular drug dosages needed to reduce adverse reactions in women

Sex-specific cardiovascular drug dosages needed to reduce adverse reactions in women

Sex-specific cardiovascular drug dosages are needed to reduce adverse reactions in women, according to a position paper from the European Society of Cardiology published today in the June issue of European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy.1

“Cardiovascular diseases kill a greater proportion of women than men in Europe, and they kill twice as many women as all cancers combined,” said lead author Dr Juan Tamargo, director of the Cardiovascular Pharmacology Research Group, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain.

“Cardiovascular drug recommendations are based on clinical trials in middle-aged men,” continued Dr Tamargo. “Women have more adverse reactions from current dosages and may stop taking preventive medication, leaving them unprotected despite their higher risk.”

The position paper outlines the differences between women and men with respect to cardiovascular medications and gives recommendations on how to improve treatment in women.

Key differences between women and men with respect to cardiovascular diseases and drugs:
•    Women are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease than men because they live longer.
•    Cardiovascular drug recommendations are based on clinical trials in middle-aged men.
•    Adverse drug reactions are more severe and more common in women than men.
•    Women less often receive preventive treatments and are treated less aggressively than men.
•    Women and men absorb, distribute, metabolise, and excrete drugs differently.

Dr Tamargo said: “Male physicians less often prescribe recommended medications for female patients. Some doctors think cardiovascular disease is not a real issue for women because they are protected by sex hormones, forgetting that this disappears with age and women live longer than men.”

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Source: European Society of Cardiology

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