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Fri Jan 8, 2021, 09:44 AM

Sex Matters

Book by Alyson J. McGregor MD (Author)

In Sex Matters, McGregor lists multiple ways that today’s drugs can still fail women as a direct result. Women metabolise drugs differently (there are lots of reasons, but many are linked to different hormones and different levels of enzymes), so certain drugs remain in the system for longer or drop to dangerously low levels at certain points of the menstrual cycle. McGregor also shows how common fillers used in generic drugs – which are typically only tested for two weeks in a group of healthy males – can alter bioavailability (how much of the drug that will reach the body and work as planned) in women by up to 24%, which is why she often asks presenting patients if they’ve recently switched to a generic.

One particularly frightening example is the impact of medication on our QT – that’s the resting time between heartbeats. A woman’s QT is already longer than a man’s (a result of men’s teenage testosterone surge) and many prescription drugs – painkillers, antidepressants, antihistamines, antibiotics – cause incremental QT increases as a side-effect. For women on multiple meds (and statistically, women are most likely to be on multiple meds), the risk of these combined increases can range from simple arrhythmia to sudden cardiac death.


The book is packed with specific advice for female patients, ranging from volunteering for medical trials to researching sex differences in prescriptions, recording side-effects, joining patient support groups, keeping careful records of symptoms and treatments and taking an advocate along to appointments. She also urges women to be pushier patients. “When a doctor writes a prescription, ask, ‘Is this specific to me as female? Should I have a different dose? Will I have different side-effects? Will this affect my birth control? Should I take a different drug at certain times of my menstrual cycle?’ A doctor may not know those answers – but most people who go to medical school take an oath of lifelong learning. I hope doctors will say, ‘Let me look.’”



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janterry Jan 2021 OP
mopinko Jan 2021 #1
janterry Jan 2021 #2

Response to janterry (Original post)

Fri Jan 8, 2021, 12:32 PM

1. my niece got pg after antibiotics defused her birth control.

so, yeah. it matters.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 9, 2021, 09:22 AM

2. It's shocking that we still don't realize how important sex is

in medicine - after all these years.

I remember when I was young, I learned that breast cancer was studied most commonly in men, because women were 'too complex' to study (too many OTHER variables).

I thought once that was exposed, it would all change. It hasn't.

Sex really matters in all aspects of life, but particularly medicine. And, as usual, women seem to continue to be an after thought.

For anyone who thinks things are getting better today for women - they are not.

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