Did you know that 50% of patients are taking medications which do not work well for them or cause unwanted side effects?

There are many reasons for differences in the way drugs work for different people, including a person’s height and weight, the presence of other health problems and individual genetic make-up.  Additionally, interactions with other medications, food, or even the environment can play a role in how well medications work and are tolerated. It is estimated that 10%-20% of serious side effects from medication may be due to genetic factors.

Pharmacogenomics in the clinic infographic from Genome.gov with this explanatory text: Health professionals take blood samples from patients with the same condition. DNA is purified from the blood and placed on a profiling chip. The chip tests for gene variants that affect response to a drug used to treat the condition. Depending on which genetic variants they have, patients may have a good

(Courtesy Genome.gov)

Pharmacogenetics/pharmacogenomics is the study of how inherited genetic differences impact the way drugs or medications affect a person. These genetic differences can impact the way a drug is absorbed or metabolized and thereby influence drug response. Pharmacogenomic tests may provide information about a person’s genetic makeup to help doctors decide which medications and doses might work best for him or her.

Pharmacogenetic tests can help explain why a certain drug does not work for a person and can help doctors find an alternative drug and appropriate dose more quickly. This is often the case with medications used to treat depression and other mental illnesses.  It may take trying many different medications before finding one that works best for a particular person.  Pharmacogenetic testing may help reduce this trial period for some patients.

Currently there are over 600 drugs where genetic changes are known or suspected to play a part in how well the drug works.  For some medications, the relationship is strong and clear and there are dosing guidelines available for physicians to use.  For other drugs, there is emerging information on possible genetic associations and more studies will be necessary to better define them.

You can find more information about pharmacogenomic testing by speaking with your physician or by visiting web sites including Genome.gov and FDA.gov.

If you have questions about pharmacogenetics testing at Quest, please reach out to us at 1.866.GENE.INFO (436.3463).