Sex differences in cardiovascular drug induced adverse reactions causing hospital admissions

British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 05/14/2012

Clear sex differences exist in Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) requiring hospital admission for different cardiovascular drug groups. Sex differences should be taken into account in the prescription and evaluation of drugs.


  • Authors conducted a nationwide study of all hospital admissions between 2000 and 2005 with data from the Dutch National Medical Register.
  • Relative risks were calculated of hospital admissions due to ADRs to the different cardiovascular drug groups for women compared to men.
  • By an ecological design, risks were adjusted for the total number of Dutch inhabitants, and total number of prescriptions.


  • In total, 14,207 of the hospital admissions (34% of all ADR related admissions) were attributed to cardiovascular drugs (7,690 in women (54%; 95% CI 53%, 55%)).
  • 'Anticoagulants and salicylates' (n=8988), 'high and low ceiling diuretics' (n=2242) and 'cardiotonic glycosides’ (n=932) were responsible for the majority of the ADR–related hospital admissions.
  • The most pronounced sex–differences were seen in users of low ceiling diuretics (RR 4.02; 95% CI 3.12, 5.19), cardiotonic glycosides (RR 2.38; 95% CI 2.06, 2.74), high ceiling diuretics (RR 2.10; 95% CI 1.91, 2.32) and coronary vasodilators (RR 0.77; 95% CI 0.65, 0.91).

Print Article Summary Cat 2 CME Report