Our medical history has a huge problem—women have been an afterthought when it comes to drug testing.
For most of history, men (and male animals) have been used as test subjects for the effects, dosages, and side effects of different drugs. Unfortunately, this is not a problem that has been left in the past. Despite the fact that medicine can have extremely different side effects for men and women, specifically pain medication and sleeping medicine, women are still, more often than not, left out of drug testing.
It was only in 2013, 20 years after Ambien became available on the market, that the Food and Drug Administration cut the recommend dosage of Ambien for women from 10 mg to 5 mg. Statistically speaking, women use prescription sleeping medications more than men, yet we were not factored into the pre-market tests for Ambien. It turns out that high-dose sleeping medication lingers in female body systems longer than in male systems, but initially, the same dose was recommended for all adults. The side effects resulted in several fatal car crashes due to drowsy female drivers.
According to science, women also respond differently to addiction, heart attacks, and chronic pain. Dr. Jeffrey Mogil, Ph.D., at McGill University discusses the problem with science: “Studying female animals and taking their hormonal changes into account isn’t just introducing variability; it’s introducing reality.” We think it’s about time studying women and how our bodies respond to medicine became part of the medical curriculum.
To learn more about women and medicine, or the lack thereof, read this scientific study.
Explore the thought differences of the female brain with one of our favorite books below.
So it turns out that our medical knowledge is entirely one-sided (the male side), but sex does matter when it comes to medicine. What do you make of women's exclusion from drug testing?