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When It Comes to Sleeping Pills, Men and Women Are Not Created Equal

The Food and Drug Administration recently took a look into how fast men and women metabolize sleeping pills. What they found was that dosages should be taken into account.The FDA looked at a sleeping pill called Intermezzo. They tested the blood of men and women who ingested an equal dose and found that men had less of the drug in their system over a period of time than did women. This resulted in the FDA recommending different dosages, 3.5 for men and 1.75 for women.

It’s no wonder than stories about women having adverse reactions to Ambien, a popular sleeping pill that uses the same active ingredient as Intermezzo, have been so prevalent. Some women were experiencing side effects that varied between depression and fearlessness, suicidal thoughts and change in personality.

But it’s not only sleeping pills that affect women differently than men. According to a report from the Society for Women’s Health Research, physiological differences between men and women results in a different reaction to tobacco, alcohol and cocaine. It’s believed that sex hormones are partially to account for these differences. For instance, women wake up faster from anesthesia than do men. Despite this, women are more prone to side effects of anesthesia.

The differences in how the body reacts to certain drugs gets frightening when one considers that the antihistamine Seldane and Propulsid can trigger fatal hear arrhythmia in women much more frequently than in men. Women also present with more arrhythmias due to antibiotics than do men.

The assumption is that because most women are smaller than men, the drug interactions would be more intense for women. However, as the Society for Women’s Health Research reported, it’s a lot more complex than that.

Posted on June 17th, 2013

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