Why Women Should Take a Closer Look At Medication Side Effects

As an emergency physician herself, Alyson McGregor is well aware that in medical emergencies, patients usually put a lot of trust in their doctors.

In her recent TED Talk, however, she reveals that women might want to rethink that.

This is because many of the common drugs used — ranging from emergency room prescriptions, to everyday aspirin — have only ever been tested on men.

The Government Accountability study notes that 80 percent of the drugs withdrawn from the market are due to side effects on women, leading them to go back and confirm history's trajectory of almost always exclusively testing males.

Why only men? Because they are easier to test on, according to McGregor. Their hormones do not vary as much as women;s do, and therefore, produce "cleaner" data. Also, during WW2, it was assumed that men and women were alike in almost everyway — expect for their reproductive hormones.

"Women are not just men with boobs and tubes. But they have their own anatomy and physiology that deserves to be studied with the same intensity," McGregor said.

She is part of a division within the Department of Emergency Medicine at Brown University called Sex and Gender in Emergency Medicine, where they conduct research to determine the differences between men and women in emergent conditions, like heart disease, stroke, sepsis, and substance abuse.

"We also believe that education is paramount," McGregor said.

To find out more on the subject, watch McGregor's full TED Talk below.


NEXT: Women Will Change Medicine »

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