Does opioid analgesia show a gender preference for females?

C. Miaskowski, J. D. Levine, G. G. Page, J. S. Mogil, B. Kest, W. Maixner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Recent evidence suggests that one of the factors that may influence the assessment and management of pain is a person's gender. However, only a limited amount of information exists on gender differences in responses to analgesic medications. Based on a review of the available literature published between 1966 and 1998, we suggest that opioids are better analgesics for women. The information in this paper comes predominantly from several studies on the use of patient-controlled analgesia for the management of postoperative pain. Additional information comes from our recent work that demonstrated a sexual dimorphism in oral surgery patients' responses to three different opioid analgesics that share the property of acting as agonists at the kappa-opioid receptor. The paper concludes with a discussion of the major recommendations for future research regarding the gender biology of pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-44
Number of pages11
JournalPain Forum
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Gender differences
  • Opioid analgesia
  • Pain
  • Sex differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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