By Tim Sandle, Ph.D.
Too often, women are underrepresented in clinical trials. This leads to erroneous data since women can differ in presentation, clinical manifestations, and outcomes in comparison to men. For example, many medications metabolize more slowly in women, and other medications are more active in men. Clinical manifestations may differ because of the unknown pathophysiology for many disorders, and the drug target identification can differ between the sexes for the same disease. Consequently, since details about clinical trial participants often remain underreported in medical journals, the physician deciding on the optimal treatment for a female patient may not be choosing the most appropriate intervention. Alternatively, the side effects of a medication can be different in men and women.