Identification of sex-specific genetic associations in response to opioid analgesics in a White, non-Hispanic cohort from Southeast Minnesota

Pharmacogenomics J. 2022 Mar;22(2):117-123. doi: 10.1038/s41397-022-00265-9. Epub 2022 Jan 31.


The study of sex-specific genetic associations with opioid response may improve the understanding of inter-individual variability in pain treatments. We investigated sex-specific associations between genetic variation and opioid response. We identified participants in the RIGHT Study prescribed codeine, tramadol, hydrocodone, and oxycodone between 01/01/2005 and 12/31/2017. Prescriptions were collapsed into codeine/tramadol and hydrocodone/oxycodone. Outcomes included poor pain control and adverse reactions within six weeks after prescription date. We performed gene-level and single-variant association analyses stratified by sex. We included 7169 non-Hispanic white participants and a total of 1940 common and low-frequency variants (MAF > 0.01). Common variants in MACROD2 (rs76026520), CYP1B1 (rs1056837, rs1056836), and CYP2D6 (rs35742686) were associated with outcomes. At the gene level, FAAH, SCN1A, and TYMS had associations for men and women, and NAT2, CYP3A4, CYP1A2, and SLC22A2 had associations for men only. Our findings highlight the importance of considering sex in association studies on opioid response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid* / adverse effects
  • Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase*
  • Codeine / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocodone
  • Male
  • Minnesota / epidemiology
  • Oxycodone / adverse effects


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Arylamine N-Acetyltransferase
  • NAT2 protein, human
  • Codeine