Optimal doses of HF medication substantially lower in women with HF
Optimal doses of medication is substantially lower in women with heart failure (HF) compared to men, according to a study by the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) in Groningen, the Netherlands, which is published in The Lancet.
The recommended dosage of beta-blockers is similar for men and women in HF, as described by international guidelines. However, these guidelines are based on results of studies enrolling mostly men (80% or more) and studies did not account for sex differences. Bernadet Santema investigated the differences in use of beta-blockers and ACE-inhibitors/ARBs between men and women in HF patients.
Optimal doses of HF medication in women appears to be ~50% of currently recommended doses and women with HF benefit from lower doses of HF medication. These results should not be misinterpreted to undertreat women with HF. More research into sex differences is needed, according to the investigators. Differences in body size and weight, proportion of body fat and circulating blood volume can have an effect on the optimal doses of medication and women suffer more often from serious side effects than men.
Professor Adriaan Voors, cardiologist and head of UMCG’s outpatient clinic: ‘Looking back, it is remarkable that medical sciences have paid so little attention to the differences between men and women for decades, while it is so obvious that there are many differences. Sometimes the biggest breakthroughs arise from very simple questions. The result we have found, could very well apply to many more disease areas.’