Before they are ever prescribed by a doctor, medications undergo multiple phases of testing to make sure they are safe for patients. However, women are commonly excluded from clinical trials, which means certain medications may not be safe for everyone.
The main reason behind the exclusion of women from medical trials is rooted in their menstrual cycle. Women’s hormone levels are continually fluctuating, and this makes it more difficult for researchers when they are analyzing data. To make their research easier, they avoid the complexities involved with fluctuating hormones by excluding women.
Although it is a deeply ingrained practice in the medical field, the exclusion of women from clinical trials raises a whole host of red flags when it comes to how medications are used and their safety.
One of the most significant issues is that drugs can react differently in men than in women, which means the results of clinical trials may not be fully accurate. This is especially true for certain types of afflictions, such as depression, where hormones play a significant role in the issues associated with mental health. Without clear data on how medications used for depression affect women, doctors cannot effectively treat their female patients.
Another glaring problem with the exclusion of women from medical trials is that women are much more likely to suffer adverse effects from medications than men. Without data on women from clinical trials, these adverse reactions are often not discovered until the drugs are prescribed by doctors.
Changes in the medical community
Fortunately, this inequality in clinical testing is gaining more attention. Researchers from a major clinical research organization, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, are making their voices heard on this topic and demanding change.
Within the last decade, the World Health Organization has spoken out about the bias in clinical research and issued a report on the topic.
Clinical researchers in the field, such as http://www.gandlscientific.com/, are also encouraging changes in clinical trials so they include women and collect more balanced data.
Although the exclusion of women from medical trials continues to be a significant problem, things are changing for the better. As increasing numbers of clinical trials include women, female patients will be ensured of safer and more effective treatments.