Differences in Pain and Analgesia in Men versus Women

Currently, the difference in pain and analgesia between the sexes is not fully understood and no clinical guidelines support different treatment methods. However, here are some suggestions to consider:

  • It’s okay to use similar starting doses between men and women, then titrate for individual efficacy
  • Women may have a slower onset of analgesia and be more sensitive to the side effects of opioids
  • Women may experience greater benefit from using different classes of analgesics in combination (opioid + NSAID).
  • Women use different coping mechanisms when dealing with pain; remember to incorporate relaxation, positive thinking, and social support when treating pain in women.
  • Be aware of negative coping such as catastrophizing, anxiety, and depression.
  • Be sure to assess the total patient…women may be experiencing pain in multiple sites and/or types of pain.


Csicseri, A. (2012, March 6). Sex Differences in Pain & Analgesia. PharmCon, Inc.
Richardson, J., & Holdcroft, A. (2009, 01 12). Gender Differences and Pain Medication. Retrieved Apr 22, 2013, from Medscape Pharmacists Education: http://www.medscape.org/viewarticle/586530

By | 2018-01-04T21:03:16+00:00 November 1st, 2015|Pharmacist Corner|0 Comments

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