Objective: The aim of this article is to offer recommendations and rationale for gender-specific antipsychotic treatment.
Method: The author summarizes reviews of recent literature in psychiatric clinical trials, pharmacology, drug safety, toxicology, obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics.
Results: The pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of antipsychotic drugs differ in women and men and are influenced by gender-specific factors such as body build, diet, smoking, concurrent medication, exercise, substance use, and hormonal transitions. In general, and for some drugs in particular, women require lower doses in order to stay well. Because preliminary drug testing is not done in pregnant women, the issue of effective dosing during pregnancy is unstudied, and safety for fetuses and nursing infants may not become evident until a drug is widely used. Specific adverse effects on issues crucial to women (e.g., parenting) have not been well studied, but some side effects, such as weight gain, passivity, hypotension, and hyperprolactinemia, are reported to be particularly problematic for women. Some serious side effects are more often seen among women than among men.
Conclusions: Optimal maintenance regimens of antipsychotics for women and men are not the same.