Does sex matter? The influence of gender on gastrointestinal physiology and drug delivery

Ana C Freire, Abdul W Basit, Rahul Choudhary, Chee W Piong, Hamid A Merchant

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

144 Citations (Scopus)


We all respond differently to drugs. Personalised medicine aims to improve efficacy and reduce side effects, and efforts are being made to understand the physiological differences that underlie responses to drugs. Genetics, diet and disease state can be key; however, gender also plays an important role in pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and drug toxicity. Differences in metabolism and clearance of drugs as a consequence of distinct hepatic and renal processes in males and females are now much better understood but little is known about gender differences in the gastrointestinal tract. As the recipient of all orally administered medications, differences at this level can have a major impact on drug delivery and bioavailability; yet these continue to be ignored and insufficiently studied in the context of drug disposition. The aim of this review is to highlight the known gender differences in gut physiology. Clinical case studies are presented, where possible, to illustrate the influence of these differences on drug disposition and gaps in current knowledge are highlighted to encourage further research in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-28
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


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  • Basic Pharmacokinetics

    Merchant, H., 13 Jan 2022, Biopharmaceutics: From Fundamentals to Industrial Practice. Batchelor, H. (ed.). 1st ed. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, p. 9-29 21 p. (Advances in Pharmaceutical Technology).

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

  • Sex-specific effects of excipients on oral drug bioavailability

    Mai, Y., Madla, C. M., Shao, H., Qin, Y., Merchant, H., Murdan, S. & Basit, A. W., 15 Dec 2022, In: International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 629, 15 p., 122365.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    2 Citations (Scopus)

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