Have you ever had a reaction to a medicine? Headaches, nausea, drowsiness, and irritability are common side-effects of both prescription and non-prescription medications. There are many reasons that people react to medications. Age, sex, weight, and overall health are a few factors that determine how your body reacts to a medication.
Recent research in genetic science has shown that some people have variations in their genetic make-up that can determine a reaction to a drug. Pharmacogenetics, also known as pharmacogenomics, is the study of the way that your genetic characteristics affect the assimilation and effectiveness of drugs in your body.
Genetic Health Markers and Adverse Drug Events
Genetic testing identifies changes in the DNA of specific genes to evaluate the genetic health of an individual. Some genetic variants suggest that a person may have an increased risk for developing certain diseases. Other genetic variants may affect the action of particular drugs. Reactions to drugs constitute a serious health problem across the world. In the United States, Adverse Drug Reactions are the fourth leading cause of death. Research suggests that gene variability may account for between 20 and 95 percent of the differences in drug synthesis and effectiveness.
Many genetic variants that affect the way a medication acts are unique to each individual. Some people do not get any benefit from a drug, while others experience severe side effects. Genetic variants that affect drug assimilation have also been associated with specific population groups. For example, a genetic variant common in African Americans requires a higher-than-standard dose of warfarin, a commonly prescribed anticoagulant.
Pharmacological Testing and Personalized Drug Treatment Plans
There are a number of specific genes associated with drug effectiveness and response. The most common genes that affect drug metabolism are the cytochrome p450 (CYP) genes. These genes control the reaction to more than 70 percent of prescribed drugs. If you have variants of the CYP genes, you may not get the predicted therapeutic benefit of the drug, or may experience serious side effects. If the gene variant results in a slower rate of drug metabolism, the drug may build up in your body and cause a toxic reaction. If your genetic make-up causes a faster drug metabolism, the medicine may be inactivated before you receive the desired therapeutic benefit. Should you have a genetic variant that is associated with the way a medicine may perform, your doctor can devise a drug treatment plan that includes medicines and doses that are safe and effective for you.
Pharmacogenetic testing with Rxight® looks for variants in 60 alleles on 18 genes that affect the effectiveness and metabolic action of more than 200 commonly prescribed medicines. Medicines that are affected by gene variants include those pain, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, attention deficit disorder and mental health. You receive a personalized medication review that details your unique genetic health characteristics. These confidential results are interpreted by a medical practitioner trained in pharmacogenetics, and can be shared with your healthcare providers at your discretion.