Prescription drugs and women

Clearinghouse Connector – May 2015

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Prescription drugs are medications that legally require a medical prescription to be dispensed though a pharmacy. Literature on prescription drugs and women reveals that gender plays a role in:

A gendered approach to managing issues related to prescription drugs and women is therefore recommended to maximise positive health outcomes for women.

Non-medical use of prescription drugs (NMUPD)

Misuse of pharmaceuticals (National Drugs Strategy Household Survey 2013 key findings) Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2015

Gender and prescription opioid abuse Sex and Gender Women’s Health Collaborative, 2015

Superwoman syndrome fuels pill-pop culture NBC News, 2010

The gender dimension of non-medical use of prescription drugs in Europe and the Mediterranean region Council of Europe, 2015

Non-medical use of prescription drugs in a national sample of college women Addictive Behaviors, 2011

Association of prescription drug misuse with risky motor vehicle behaviors among low-income young women Substance Abuse, 2013


More women dying from accidental drug overdoses than in road toll, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for Penington Institute show Herald Sun, 2014

Prescription painkiller overdoses: a growing epidemic, especially among women Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013


Costs of medicines and health care: a concern for Australian women across the ages BMC Health Services Research, 2013

Do we really need prescriptions for the contraceptive pill? The Conversation, 2013

Abortion, contraception still a problem for women in regional Victoria ABC Online 2013

Pharmacy women with a clear message Pharmacy Guild of Australia, 2014.

Submission for Reclassification of Selected Oral Contraceptives [Executive Summary] New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority, 2014

Drug actions and drug development

A new women’s issue: statins New York Times, 2014

The drug-dose gender gap New York Times, 2013

Pregnant women must be studied toot The Conversation, 2014

Can gender difference in prescription drug use be explained by gender-related morbidity?: a study on a Swedish population during 2006 BMC Public Health, 2014

Gender bias in clinical research, pharmaceutical marketing, and the prescription of drugs Global Health Action, 2014

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Medicines in pregnancy : safe? NPS MedicineWise, 2014

Maternal bodies and medicines: a commentary on risk and decision-making of pregnant and breastfeeding women and health professionals BMC Public Health, 2011

Knowledge, attitudes and practices of health professionals and women towards medication use in breastfeeding: a review International Breastfeeding Journal, 2011

Pregnant women and prescription drug abuse, dependence and addiction : Toolkit on State legislation American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG), 2015

Compliance / non-adherence

Health decision-making among rural women: physician access and prescription adherence Rural and Remote Health, 2011

Women and men report different behaviours in, and reasons for medication non-adherence: a nationwide Swedish survey Pharm Practice (Granada), 2012

The influence of gender and psychological distress on adherence to prescribed medication [Thesis] Sundbom, 2014

Post-violence therapy and survival

Intimate partner violence and prescription of potentially addictive drugs: prospective cohort study of women in the Oslo Health Study BMJ Open, 2012

Mental health and rape history in relation to non-medical use of prescription drugs in a national sample of women Addictive Behaviors, 2009

Cancer therapy and survival

Medication use in breast cancer survivors compared to midlife women Supportive Care in Cancer, 2013

Breast Cancer Network Australia submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee inquiry into cancer drugs Breast Cancer Network Australia, 2015

Policy development

Submission to the Inquiry into communiity pharmacy Victoria Women’s Health Victoria, 2014

Reducing the alcohol and drug toll: Victoria’s plan 2013-2017 Victoria. Department of Health, 2012

The national drug strategy 2010-2015: a framework for action on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs Australia. Department of Health and Ageing, 2011

Responding to pharmaceutical drug misuse problems in Australia : a matter of balance : NCETA literature review to support the development of the National Pharmaceutical Drug Misuse Strategy National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction, 2011

Inquiry into the supply and use of methamphetamines, particularly ice, in Victoria Victoria. Parliament. Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee, 2014

Inquiry into the misuse/abuse of benzodiazepines and other forms of pharmaceutical drugs in Victoria : final report Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee, 2007

National medicines policy document Australia. Department of Health, 1999

Related websites

Australian Drug Foundation

Penington Institute

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Better Health Channel Medicines : safety issues

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