Medicine’s deadly gender gap

A lot of recent research exposes how little we know about the female body. Yet female under-representation in scientific research puts women’s health directly at risk and it limits our scientific knowledge.
One of the biggest gaps surrounds pregnant women. Pregnant women use a swath of medications, many of which are untested on them, says Barbara Mintzes, an assistant professor of pharmacology and therapeutics at UBC. Mintzes believes testing on pregnant women is ethical but urges caution.
“There should be good suggestive evidence that a treatment is going to have a real benefit in pregnancy before starting a randomized trial,” she says, noting that 12 per cent of pregnant women are prescribed selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors for depression “off-label,” even though limited scientific evidence suggests that neither pregnant women nor their babies benefit.

Maclean’s, Mon Apr 30 2012, By: Anne Kingston, Link to full text