The effect of a drug may vary depending on the sex of the patient. Until now, drugs are mainly tested on men. Until now, there is only one such institute of medicine in Germany and the policy remains cautious as regards the regulation of drug testing.
Until now, gender medicine in Germany is not necessarily part of medical studies. Experience has already shown that drugs can act differently depending on the sex. For example, it has been shown that Zolipdem was the cause of many car accident deaths the next morning, said our reporter Lara Lorenz. For many women, the drug is now dosed differently.
Does not protect against heart attacks, but reduces the risk of stroke
An active ingredient, which is also included in aspirin, can protect men from heart attacks. In a large study conducted in 2005, the effect of the drug on women was examined. It shows that the drug has no significant effect on most women in a heart attack. Instead, it has been found that this medication can reduce the risk of stroke in women.
"Scientifically, you build models and it helps build a model in which you can categorize a lot of people."
Vera Regitz-Zagrosek, doctor
In Germany, there is only one medical institute of its kind. This is located at the Berlin Charity. Drug testing often fails to tell if they are different in men and women because they are far less likely to be tested on women
The male body has long been considered the norm in medicine. The tests were done much less often on women because the doctors did not want to harm the unborn child during an unseen pregnancy. Vera Regitz-Zagrosek founded the Institute of Gender Medicine at Charity Berlin and believes that this concern should not go so far that drugs are not or not tested at all on women.
"It's a fundamental thought, but do not go as far as not testing drugs in women, especially if they interact with hormones, you have a menstrual cycle."
Vera Regitz-Zagrosek, doctor
Initially, a drug is tested on cells and animals in the laboratory, but they too are mostly men. Then follows a multi-step process for humans. To date, there are few women in this test.
The man and the woman are extreme of the spectrum
The doctor Vera Regitz-Zagrosek considers men and women as extremes in the gender spectrum. In gender medicine, both sexes are grouped according to specific physical characteristics, such as chromosomes or hormones. The disadvantage is that, for example, intersex people who do not fit into any of these categories do not even exist there. In doing so, GPs want more attention to each sex in medicine, including the production of pharmaceuticals.
Vera Regitz-Zagrosek of Charity in Berlin does not believe that the problem can be solved with national regulations, as most drugs are developed internationally. Although there are also guidelines at the international level, the doctor still finds them weak.
More stringent guidelines could help
The doctor says the problem lies in the fact that most of these regulations are "targeted regulations". and that there are no guidelines interpreted as an "indispensable" rule. For example, it would mean that a substance should be rejected if there is no data on women.