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Sex, age, and genetics in anesthesia

Booij, Leo HDJ

Current Opinion in Anesthesiology: August 2008 - Volume 21 - Issue 4 - p 462–466
doi: 10.1097/ACO.0b013e3283007ea3
Drugs in anesthesia: Edited by Alan D. Kaye

Purpose of review Pharmacology is one of the corner stones of anesthesia. Outcome of anesthesia is related, in part, to both pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of anesthetic drugs. Recent developments have indicated that among individuals, major differences exist in pharmacological effects. In this regard, sex, age, and genetic profile are increasingly considered to be of importance.

Recent findings For a number of anesthetic drugs, it has been demonstrated that sex differences influence their effects and thus can alter the outcome of anesthesia. Also other genetically determined differences than sex are important.

Summary In the future, it is expected that an individual's pharmacological needs will be based on age, sex, and genomics.

University Medical Center Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Correspondence to Leo H.D.J. Booij, MD, PhD, FRCA, University Medical Center Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9101, 6400 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands Tel: +31 24 3665096; e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.