In the early sixties, a prominent professor in Clinical Pharmacology at the University College in London, D.R. Laurence, stated: “There are no clinically important sex differences in drug action, except, of course, to sex steroid hormones, but the subject is poorly documented. Women are said to be more liable to become excited by morphine than are men; in this respect they resemble cats.” It was thought that study results in men could easily be extrapolated to women, and women were excluded from clinical studies for simplicity and protection from harmful drug effects to them and their fetuses. Fortunately, the following decades, this insight changed and sex differences in clinical pharmacology have gained more attention. Unfortunately, however, still not enough, as will be demonstrated in this thesis. Sex and gender both refer to the differentiation in men and women. Sex refers to the biological differences; gender to the behavioral and psychological perception of sexual identity. Besides the well-known sex differences in the reproductive system and physical and psychological features,4 men and women differ from more perspectives, such as physiology, anatomy and pathophysiology and disease treatment. This variety also leads to differences in drug response.

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The Rotterdam Study is supported by the Erasmus Medical Center and Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NOW), the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), the Research Institute for Diseases in the Elderly (RIDE), the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, The European Commission (DGXII), the Netherlands Genomics Initiative (NGI) and the Municipality of Rotterdam. The contribution of the inhabitants, general practitioners and pharmacists of the Ommoord district to the Rotterdam Study are gratefully acknowledged. The collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and STAR-Medical Diagnostic Center is gratefully acknowledged.
A.G. Uitterlinden (André)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Rodenburg, E. (2012, September 19). Sex Differences in Cardiovascular Drug Response. Retrieved from