Gender medicine: An up-date

Cecilia Politi, Tiziana Ciarambino, Flavia Franconi, Lucrezia De Feudis, Maria Carolina Mayer, Alessandra Martignoni, Ilaria Giovi, Michela Tonani, Salvatore La Carrubba, Anna Maria Moretti, Carmen Martino, Giovanni Scanelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Women get sick more, use more health services, take more drugs, and have a higher frequency of serious adverse reactions. Despite this, the drugs we use are little studied in women: both clinical studies and pre-clinical experiments are carried out predominantly in males and the young. Before 1990, no more than 26-30% of women were usually enrolled in a trial, so we lacked the statistical power of showing the efficacy and safety of the drugs being studied in the whole population. The gender blindness (transposition of the male studies in female populations) resulted in a lack of awareness of the differences between males and females, and this prevented both genders from receiving the best possible care. This gender bias also, to a lower degree, hurts men: depression, migraines, osteoporosis have not been studied properly in males. Although the process is slow, the scientific community has begun to pay more attention to direct and indirect influences that gender exercise on biological mechanisms, and this includes both internal and external cultural and environmental factors. Therefore, the differences between the old, the young, children, and pregnant women (considered the third gender group) will become increasingly more important as care becomes more personalized. The first course of gender medicine was established only in 2002 at Columbia University, New York, USA. The World Health Organization has incorporated gender medicine into the Equity Act. This implies that the treatment given must be the most appropriate and best suited the individual patient's gender. The Committee on Women's Health of the Ministry of Health in Italy was established in 2007. Institutions now pay great attention to the importance of this clinical perspective and are sensitive to the need for change. This review focuses on specific open questions regarding gender: pharmacology, clinical trial recruitment, cardiovascular prevention, stroke, osteoporosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depression, and discusses presentations made to the 1st course of gender medicine organized as part of the 18th National Congress of the Federation of Associations of Hospital Doctors on Internal Medicine (FADOI), 2012.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-106
Number of pages11
JournalItalian Journal of Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Cardiovascular prevention
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Clinical trials
  • Depression
  • Gender medicine
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pharmacology
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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