This article reviews sex differences in opiate analgesic and related processes as part of a Special Issue in Hormones and Behavior. The research findings on sex differences are organized in the following manner: (a) systemic opioid analgesia across mu, delta and kappa opioid receptor subtypes and drug efficacy at their respective receptors, (b) effects of the activational and organizational roles of gonadal steroid hormones and estrus phase on systemic analgesic responses, (c) sex differences in spinal opioid analgesia, (d) sex differences in supraspinal opioid analgesia and gonadal hormone effects, (e) the contribution of genetic variance to analgesic sex differences, (f) sex differences in opioid-induced hyperalgesia, (g) sex differences in tolerance and withdrawal-dependence effects, and (h) implications for clinical therapies. © 2009 Elsevier Inc.
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