Inequality in analgesic prescription in Spain. A gender development issue.Gac Sanit. 2013 Mar-Apr; 27(2):135-42.GS
It is well known that sex differences in analgesic prescription are not merely the logical result of greater prevalence of pain in women, since this therapeutic variability is related to factors such as educational level or social class. This study aims to analyse the relationship between analgesic prescription and gender development in different regions of Spain.
Cross-sectional study of sex-differences in analgesic prescription according to the gender development of the regions studied. Analgesic prescription, pain and demographic variables were obtained from the Spanish Health Interview Survey in 2006. Gender development was measured with the Gender Development Index (GDI). A logistic regression analysis was conducted to compare analgesic prescription by sex in regions with a GDI above or below the Spanish average.
Once adjusted by pain, age and social class, women were more likely to be prescribed analgesics than men, odds ratio (OR) = 1.74 (1.59-1.91), as residents in regions with a lower GDI compared with those in region with a higher GDI: ORWomen = 1.26 (1.12-1.42), ORMen = 1.30 (1.13-1.50). Women experiencing pain in regions with a lower GDI were more likely than men to be treated by a general practitioner rather than by a specialist, OR = 1.32 (1.04-1.67), irrespective of age and social class.
Gender bias may be one of the pathways by which inequalities in analgesic treatment adversely affect women's health. Moreover, research into the adequacy of analgesic treatment and the possible medicalisation of women should consider contextual factors, such as gender development.