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Gaceta Sanitaria

versión impresa ISSN 0213-9111


SANFELIX, José et al. Gender influence in the quantity of drugs used in primary care. Gac Sanit [online]. 2008, vol.22, n.1, pp.11-19. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objective: To analyze whether for an equal health problem there are gender differences in the drugs used in an adult population attended in the Health Care Centers of the Valencian Community (Spain). Methods: A cross-sectional analytical study was carried out between February-August 1997. The independent variables were: socio-economic parameters, frequency of visits, and self-perceived or diagnosed health problems, and the dependent one the number of drugs consumed. Results: Of the 812 patients considered, 801 consumed medication. Eighty percent of the health problems for which drugs were used involved 5 apparatuses and systems (mean: 3.3 health problems/patient). The 5 most consumed therapeutic groups accounted for 81% of the total (mean: 4.5 drugs/patient). Significant differences were recorded, with greater female consumption in the central nervous system and genitourinary tract therapeutic groups, and with greater male consumption in relation to the respiratory system and systemic anti-infectious therapy. Drug use increased with age, lowest educational level, lowest professional categories, and with the highest frequency of visits to the physician. Significant differences were also recorded in drug use by occupational status, marital status and family structure. The multivariate analysis showed the number of health problems and the frequency of visits accounted for 82.2% of the variability of the variable «number of drugs consumed». The variability accounted for by gender was explained by the variable health problems, the main factor underlying drug consumption among women and men. Conclusion: The main finding is probably that women do not use larger numbers of drugs than men if health problems and frequency of visits are controlled.

Palabras clave : Gender differences; Drugs; Health problems; Cross-sectional study; Primary care.

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