Editor's Note: This is the fifth article in a series on sex-based differences in the biology of males and females. The final article in the series will cover sex-based differences in life expectancy.

Lisa Damiani

More than 30 years ago, researchers noted for the first time the pharmacokinetic differences between men and women. They found that women pass antipyrine, a drug used to study liver metabolism, more quickly than men; this occurred around ovulation and during the luteal phase of their menstrual cycles. But, says Mary J. Berg, professor of pharmacy, University of Iowa, this initial difference was "just a scientific notation;" the researchers didn't set out to look for dissimilarities.

Since then, just a few common drugs have been studied exclusively for sex differences.1 "We still have a long way to go," says Berg. "There aren't that many studies done on drugs in the market." In fact,...

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