Doctors Prescribe More Analgesics to Women Than Men

First Posted: Oct 07, 2014 07:14 AM EDT

Women are more likely to be prescribed pain relieving drugs than men regardless of the pain type, age or social class, according to a new finding.

Analgesics are used to give relief from pain. Earlier in 1999, researchers at the University of Harvard, noticed that in certain U.S. states with larger proportion of women from a high social class, the rate of mortality in both men and women was lower.

Inspired by this, researchers at the University of Alicante, Spain, looked at how social and economic inequalities between men and women influence the prescription of analgesics. The article confirms that gender bias is a factor in how inequalities in analgesic treatment negatively affect women health.

According to researcher Maria Teresa Ruiz-Cantero, "It is true that women visit their doctors a greater number of times with symptoms of pain, but even eliminating the variable of pain, painkillers are still more often prescribed to women than men. In this sense, the results of the study confirm a gender gap of 29% in prescribing this type of medication."

Another peculiarity identified was when women with pain in regions that are less sensitive towards gender were more likely to receive treatment from a specialist.  In regions like southern Spain, women remain under primary care with analgesic treatment, and men on the other hand are referred to specialists.

This is known to have a direct affect on the health of the women and increases health spending by a high intake of drugs mostly in south of the country.

The finding was published in the journal Gaceta Sanitaria in 2013.

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