Frequently, pharmacomechanisms are not fully elucidated. Therefore, drug use is linked to an elevated interindividual diversity of effects, whether therapeutic or adverse, and the role of biological sex has as yet unrecognized and underestimated consequences. A pharmacogenomic approach could contribute towards the development of an adapted therapy for each male and female patient, considering also other fundamental features, such as age and ethnicity. This would represent a crucial step towards precision medicine and could be translated into clinical routine. In the present review, we consider recent results from pharmacogenomics and the role of sex in studies that are relevant to cardiovascular therapy. We focus on genome-wide analyses, because they have obvious advantages compared with targeted single-candidate gene studies. For instance, genome-wide approaches do not necessarily depend on prior knowledge of precise molecular mechanisms of drug action. Such studies can lead to findings that can be classified into three categories: first, effects occurring in the pharmacokinetic properties of the drug, e.g. through metabolic and transporter differences; second, a pharmacodynamic or drug target-related effect; and last diverse adverse effects. We conclude that the interaction of sex with genetic determinants of drug response has barely been tested in large, unbiased, pharmacogenomic studies. We put forward the theory that, to contribute towards the realization of precision medicine, it will be necessary to incorporate sex into pharmacogenomics.

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