The AMA encourages physicians to be more familiar with how genetic variations affect drug metabolism within patients and directly determine the importance of a drug metabolism test during certain cases.
Cytochrome P450 enzymes are the cause of approximately 70% of cases of the body’s drug metabolism processes, mainly the CYP2C19, CYP2C9, and CYP2D6 genes.
More than 250 medications include pharmacogenetics data in their FDA-standardized labels.
Pharmacokinetic DNA testing that’s done within medication test results can guide physicians in prescribing the appropriate drug that’s effective for the patient, avoiding those that may cause unwanted responses, and beginning the patient’s treatment at the optimal dose rate.
What is Pharmacogenetics Testing?
Simply put, pharmacogenetics is the study of the impact of genes on the body’s response to certain medications. Genes are components of your DNA that have been passed down from your parents, containing data that determines your characteristics.
Genes can affect the safety and efficacy of drugs in your body. Because of your unique genetics, what medication may work effectively for you may not do the same to others. Pharmacogenetics testing assesses your genes to come up with the right medication and dose choice for you.
Moreover, PGx testing deals with variations in enzymes that influence drug metabolism.
Inside the human body, the cytochrome P450 enzymes live and thrive, all of which are essential components of the metabolism and synthesis of cell molecules. These enzymes are required to break down active ingredients within common medications. Polymorphisms, or in the case of a genetic variation, affect the cytochrome P450 enzymes’ functions.
These variations are listed into six categories depending on their expected effect on the patient’s drug metabolism response:
A patient with a slow drug metabolism response creates unnecessary medication accumulation within the body. This slow function increases the dangers of harmful side effects, even when the medication is taken at low doses.
Reduced Intermediate Metabolizer
A patient that metabolizes drugs at reduced paces may require lower medication doses to avoid harmful side effects.
A patient that undergoes a slower drug metabolism than normal may require a reduced dose component but higher than the above.
Normal (Extensive) Metabolizer
A patient who is able to metabolize a drug within a considered normal range can generally break down the recommended doses as reported in the Prescribing Information.
A patient that metabolizes a drug before it has delivered its results to the body may need a higher dose than normal to achieve optimal results of the medication.
A patient with increasingly fast drug metabolism rates may need a much higher dose than a rapid metabolizer.
How Does Pharmacogenetics Testing Work?
Pharmacogenetics testing uses the patient’s saliva or blood that’s taken at pharmacogenetics testing labs.
For blood tests, a small needle is inserted into your arm veins to take blood. The blood sample is then stored in a vial. There may be a slight sting during the needle insertion but it typically goes away right away.
For saliva procedures, ask your healthcare professional for sample directions.
How to Know If Pharmacogenetics Testing Is Needed
The patient’s prescription plan contains 4 or more medications.
The patient has experienced unwanted side effects and reactions to medication and has had to rush to the Emergency Room as a result.
Drug Resistance or Lack of Efficacy
The patient reports not feeling relief from their current medications.
Personal or Family History
The patient’s family history dictates their genes may affect certain medication responses.
Targeted Drug Therapy
The patient is eligible for a targeted drug therapy program related to a specific gene biomarker or gene mutation.
What Are the Advantages of Pharmacogenetics Testing to Clinics?
- Choosing the most ideal medication for the individual. Genetic inheritance impacts how the body responds to medication components. Pharmacogenetics testing allows for possible predictive therapeutic failures and their prevention.
- Choosing the safest available medication for the individual. Drug toxicity may depend on the individual, and certain factors, like age, diet, liver function, and lifestyle habits, have to be considered.
- Choosing the initial dose for the medication. The trial and error method for optimal results leads to undesirable consequences. Pharmacogenetics testing allows the choice of the ideal test for the first time.
- Minimizing the danger of polypharmacy. With each additional medication inserted into the individual’s treatment plan comes the added risk of negative results. Determining how the individual may react and metabolize the medication lowers that risk.
- Facilitating and managing the patient’s thrombotic risk. Genetic variations found to exist in CYP2C9 and VKORC1 can modify the dosage response to Warfarin and Clopidogrel.
Pharmacogenetics Testing Benefits
Pharmacogenetics testing provides offers the following benefits:
- More powerful drugs. Drug companies may now develop proteins-, RNA molecules-, and enzymes-based drugs associated with genes and diseases, thus improving drug discovery and treatment for targeted illnesses.
- Better and safer medicines. Healthcare professionals are better equipped to analyze genetic profiles and prescribe safer and better medications, making the recovery a smoother experience for patients.
- More reliable drug dosages. This kind of testing opens the possibility for more accurate methods of identifying the right drug doses. Currently, dosages depend on the patient’s weight and age but with pharmacogenetics testing, genetics may also be an included factor, including the body’s metabolism response.
- Advanced disease screenings. Knowing your genetic code allows you to alter any significant lifestyle and environmental changes as early as possible for the reduced risks of genetic disease in the long term.
Primary care and mental health providers’ perceptions of implementation of pharmacogenetics testing for depression prescribing(biomedcentral.com)How pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing is revolutionizing mental health treatment(lansingcitypulse.com)
Let’s Get You Situated.
Talk to our experts regarding your testing needs today. You may schedule an appointment with them online.
Pharmacogenomics allows you to determine how your genes respond to medications. Through the test, you will learn what medications suit you and are effective for your body. It also allows you to identify the medications that can trigger your allergies and prevent serious side effects to certain medications.