Analysis suggests too little attention is paid to gender disparities in medical trials

Historically, medical research has often taken a one-size-fits-all approach, lumping women and men together despite growing evidence that the sexes differ in how they catch and fight disease.

A stark example was the heart drug digoxin, which was widely marketed in the late 1990s on the basis of a trial that showed it to be effective and safe. But over time a higher incidence of side-effects in women emerged. When the same dataset was analysed on the basis of sex, it showed digoxin decreased mortality in men – but increased mortality in women.

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