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Life Sci. 2003 May 2;72(24):2675-88.

Sex differences in drug- and non-drug-induced analgesia.

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Department of Psychology, Washington State University, CB 644820 Pullman, WA 99164-4820, USA.


Historically, biomedical research has been conducted almost exclusively with male subjects. A growing number of studies now demonstrate sex differences in analgesia produced both by drugs and by environmental stimuli. This review summarizes the current literature on sex differences in analgesia produced by opioids, cholinergics and other drugs, and by stress, exercise and other environmental manipulations. A brief overview of the physiological mechanisms underlying sex differences in analgesia is provided, as well as suggestions for future research. It is not yet known whether the development of sex-specific analgesia treatment guidelines is warranted.

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