Have you ever been prescribed a medication that just did not work for you? Have you ever experienced a negative medication side effect that someone else on the same medication did not?
If yes, you may be able to thank your DNA.
Every human has his/her own, unique set of genetic code. This uniqueness or variation within our genes causes medications to be activated and metabolized differently, causing different effects on the human body. Some of these genetic variations can impact an individual’s response to their medications.
Pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing, usually done with a simple cheek swab, is used by healthcare professionals to determine which genetic variations are predominant within each patient. This information is then used to understand the patient’s response to certain medications. PGx alleviates the need for trial and error in the treatment of patients, and offers a way to strategically target therapies based on an individual’s genetic code.
Employing PGx testing gives healthcare providers the ability to screen medications before initiating therapy. This helps patients avoid drugs they will not even be able to process and/or metabolize well, and instead it provides their provider insight on what medications will work from the beginning. This can help accelerate the benefits from medications, reduce wasted time, reduce expenses for ineffective medications, and possibly even save lives.
- Rxight. (2016). Why is PGx Testing Important? Retrieved January 10, 2017, from Rxight: Right Medicine, Right From The Start. http://rxight.com.
Contributed by: Rebekah Dunham, Class of 2017