A pharmaceutical drug, or medicine, is a chemical substance prepared for use in treatment, care, or prevention of disease. Some are prescription drugs, meaning they are safe to use only under a doctor’s care. Others are non-prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications, and can be used safely and effectively without a doctor’s supervision. Men and women may react differently to certain drugs due to their biological differences. Women take more medications than men, which may put them at higher risk for bad drug reactions, and women are also more likely than men to abuse a prescription drug.

SWHR Resources



  • Parekh A. Women in Clinical Trials: United States Food and DrugAdministration Update on Policies and Practices. In: Schenck-GustafssonK, DeCola P, Pfaff D, Pisetsky D, eds. Handbook of Clinical GenderMedicine. Basel: S. Karger AG; 2012. www.karger.com .
  • Parekh A. Pharmacological Differences between Men and Women. In:Atkinson A Jr, Huang SM, Lertora J, Markey S, eds. Principles ofClinical Pharmacology. Waltham: Elsevier Inc.; 2012.

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