Gender differences in cardiovascular therapy: focus on antithrombotic therapy and percutaneous coronary intervention

Drugs. 2013 Nov;73(17):1921-33. doi: 10.1007/s40265-013-0135-y.


The epidemiology of coronary artery disease (CAD) differs between women and men: female cardiac patients are older and have poorer risk profiles than their male counterparts. This results in a preferential exclusion of women from participation in clinical trials, reducing their power to detect differences in performance of cardiovascular therapies in women. In general, all the antiplatelet and anticoagulant medications used in cardiac patients are equally effective in men and women, although women tend to experience a higher relative benefit due to their poorer risk profile. In particular, women with CAD benefit the most from interventional treatment combined with modern antithrombotic drugs. No gender-related differences in the reduction of thromboembolic risk with more potent antithrombotic drugs have been reported. On the other hand, a clear trend to a higher incidence of bleeding complications has been consistently reported in women, which might be related to a more frequent over-dosage of antithrombotic treatment in women than in men. Women are therefore one of the subgroups that might benefit the most from careful dose adjustment of available antithrombotic drugs. However, the development of a gender-based dosage guideline remains an unmet need in cardiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / administration & dosage
  • Anticoagulants / adverse effects
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Coronary Artery Disease / epidemiology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology
  • Coronary Artery Disease / therapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / adverse effects
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention / methods*
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Sex Factors


  • Anticoagulants
  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors