What Is Pharmacogenomics?
Getting you the right drug at the right dose at the right time is the goal of pharmacogenomics, which involves studying how your specific DNA sequence influences your response to medications.
The drugs available today to treat cancer, heart disease and other conditions are powerful agents that work as intended in most patients. Yet, in some people, a particular drug at the standard dose might not work well enough or may even trigger a serious adverse reaction. The reasons for this lie in your genes.
By using your unique genetic makeup as a factor when prescribing a drug for you, your doctor can maximize treatment effectiveness while avoiding potentially life-threatening side effects.
Pharmacogenomics can help us answer a broad range of questions, such as:
- Why does standard chemotherapy eradicate breast cancer in some women but work less effectively in other women?
- Can we find new treatment options for men with advanced prostate cancer that has resisted all previous therapies?
- What is the right blood thinner drug for patients who get a stent for their coronary artery disease?
How Pharmacogenomics works
Genetics may account for much of the variability in our patients’ responses to drug therapies. In many patients, certain drugs do not work as well as expected, whereas in other patients they cause toxic effects, even at lower doses. For some patients, the reason may be genetic.
Armed with the knowledge of their patients’ genetic status, physicians could predict their response to certain drugs, leading to better efficacy, fewer adverse drug reactions, and a better cost-benefit ratio.
Important Facts to Know:
- Over 2 MILLION serious Adverse Drug Reactions ADRs yearly
- 100,000 DEATHS yearly
- Over 770,000 Americans are hospitalized each year due to Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs)
- Nursing home patients ADR rate— 350,000 yearly
- ADRs 4th leading cause of death ahead of pulmonary disease, diabetes, AIDS, pneumonia, accidents and automobile deaths
About our Elderly:
- Rate of ADRs requiring hospitalization is nearly seven times greater for persons over age 65 than those under 65
- More than half of Medicare beneficiaries take 5 or more different medications
- Persons over the age of 65 represent less than 15% of the population but account for more than 33% of Rx drug spend
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How Pharmacogenomics Works
Pharmacogenomics helps your healthcare provider identify the safest,most effective medications for you—and which ones to avoid.
Our bodies are complex systems, and this complexity is multiplied when we introduce medications. More than 75% of the population has variations that can change how they react to drugs. These individualities can be detected by DNA tests like Pharmacogenomics. Your Pharmacogenomics report analyzes your DNA against your medications (and any other remedies or food) and provides clear guidelines for prescriptions that will be effective. Perhaps even more important, Pharmacogenomics can predict what prescriptions will NOT be effective, based on the way your body metabolizes certain enzymes, so you won’t end up taking a prescription unnecessarily.