Why Is PGx Testing Important?


Employing DNA drug sensitivity testing to screen medications before therapy helps patients avoid drugs they won’t process and/or metabolize well, and instead provides the prescriber insights that can help them prescribe the right medication from the beginning. This can help accelerate the benefits from medications, reduce wasted time and expense on ineffective medications, and possibly even save lives.

When prescribing or taking medications, there isn’t room for error

But that’s the problem patients, pharmacists and providers face every time a prescription is written: the possibility that the medication won’t work, or that it will have a toxic or life-threatening side effect. Prescribers must rely on general population statistics to select effective medications for their patient and hope their patient isn’t part of the cohort that experiences dangerous side effects or an adverse drug reaction. The Rxight™ test gives providers and and pharmacists specific data to help make evidence-based decisions personalized to the patient’s genetic profile.

Reduced Adverse Effects

According to the Food and Drug Administration, adverse drug reactions, or ADRs, are one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in the healthcare system, ahead of pulmonary disease, diabetes, accidents and automobile deaths. The number of adverse drug reactions is slated to increase as more medications become available in the market, and as more healthcare providers implement drug treatment plans that consist of more than four prescription medications.


The World Health Organization (WHO) defines an adverse reaction as “[a] response to a drug which is noxious and unintended, and which occurs at doses normally used in man for the prophylaxis, diagnosis, or therapy of disease, or for the modifications of physiological function.”[1]


Unfortunately, many medications are prescribed without determining how a patient’s genetic profile influences the assimilation and metabolism of medications. And while some side effects are a challenge to avoid, some ADRs are the result of drug treatment plans that are not well-suited for an individual patient.


Pharmacogenetic testing provides patients and providers with a profile of genetic variances that will assist in designing a treatment plan that will reduce the occurrence of ADRs. When providers have a better understanding of how a patient’s genetic profile may interact with specific medications, a more effective drug treatment plan can be set in motion.

Medication Adherence

Poor medication adherence is an increasing concern in the medical community, especially for patients who are diagnosed with chronic conditions or diseases. This is because patient behavior related to the proper use of prescribed medications and drug treatment plans varies from individual to individual based on a bevy of factors. Individual patients who have a high degree of confidence in the medications prescribed by a healthcare provider typically have a high level of medication adherence, meaning prescriptions are taken as directed in the proper dosage for the recommended amount of time. Alternatively, patients who lack confidence in the safety or efficacy of a prescribed medication generally fail to follow the regimen of care as closely as providers deem necessary for successful drug treatment.[2]


Pharmacogenetic testing, also known as PGx testing, provides healthcare providers a sound method to reduce the potential for poor medication adherence by increasing patient confidence in prescribed drug treatments. Pharmacogenetics offers additional insight into how patients’ genetic profiles may affect the outcome of or reaction to specific medications. Pharmacogenetic testing lays part of the groundwork for precision care, based on the individual needs and genetic makeup of a single patient.


Armed with pharmacogenetic testing results, providers can speak with more authority on an individual patient’s drug treatment plan, ultimately leading to increased patient confidence and medical adherence.

Reduced Medical Costs

High medical costs are directly correlated to incorrect or inefficient drug treatment plans in a number of individual patient cases. Patients who go through several rounds of various prescribed medications in an attempt to find the right fit have a higher propensity to spend more on care. Higher costs are the result of an increased number of healthcare provider visits, multiple costly prescriptions and the need for treatment related to adverse drug reactions or side effects of inappropriate or ill-suited drug treatment recommendations.[2]


Knowing one’s genetic profile and related metabolism of certain medications starkly decreases the possibility of providing a drug treatment plan with unwanted effects. Logically, PGx testing prior to prescribing certain medications has the potential to reduce the total expenses associated with ineffective health care for patients by reducing the need for treatment plan changes.


Optimal Dosing

Prescription medications are tested thoroughly prior to being released for approved use in the treatment of diseases and conditions, but the research in pharmaceutical development has its limits. Drug manufacturers and medical researchers use a sample group of individuals to ascertain whether a drug is effective in treating specific ailments, and decisions about efficacy are based upon that population set. While a medication in a specific dose may be effective for a portion of the population based on that truncated research group, not every individual will experience similar results from what is deemed the standard dosage of a prescribed medication.[3]


Pharmacogenetic testing provides a direct path to individualized treatment based on the genetic traits present in each patient. By utilizing precision medicine backed by pharmacogenetics, providers have the ability to pinpoint the optimal dosage of certain medications that have the greatest potential to result in treatment success for patients.