Women and Prescription Drugs: The Gender Gap Tightens

“Today, prescription painkillers are a drug of choice among women, in part because women are more likely to suffer from chronic pain. This could explain why women ages 45 to 54 had the most dramatic increases in drug overdose deaths in the CDC study. Women are more often prescribed painkillers and for longer periods of time than men. In fact, women are 50 percent more likely than men to leave their doctor’s office with a prescription, even if they have the same condition.

The majority of overdoses occur when prescription painkillers are combined with other depressants like alcohol or sedative hypnotics like Xanax or Ambien. Because women are twice as likely as men to have anxiety and 70 percent more likely to have depression, they are more often prescribed antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, increasing their risk of dangerous drug interactions.

Whereas heroin or cocaine use carries a stigma, prescription painkillers have an air of legitimacy. People assume that if it’s legal and prescribed by a doctor, it must be safe. What many people do not realize is that prescription opiates are almost indistinguishable pharmacologically from heroin.”


Source: HuffingtonPost.com – August 21, 2013