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