Unlocking the power of genetics for precise medication! PGx testing is changing the game in patient care. No more trial and error.
In the past, determining the most suitable medication for a patient often resembled a game of trial and error. Various factors, such as age, lifestyle choices, dietary habits, and environmental influences, could influence how a person responded to a particular medication. Consequently, what worked well for one individual might lead to severe side effects in another. In cases where choosing the wrong medication could have dire health consequences, it is important to identify the medications that will yield the best results for each patient. This is where pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing plays a crucial role. These tests analyze patients’ genetic profiles to uncover genes that may contribute to adverse reactions to medications.
A patient’s genetic composition plays a central role in the effectiveness of certain medications. Therefore, PGx testing is an indispensable tool for healthcare professionals when tailoring personalized treatment plans. For instance, it enables physicians to identify the most effective medications and avoid those that may result in serious side effects, even before the patient takes their first dose. Additionally, PGx testing assists healthcare providers in adjusting medication dosages accurately.
The precision that PGx testing brings to medication therapy significantly enhances patient outcomes and minimizes adverse drug reactions. Here, we discuss three specific clinical implications of PGx testing.
- Enhanced Postoperative Pain Relief: Inadequate postoperative pain management can hinder recovery and increase the risk of chronic pain development. Many patients, particularly those dependent on opioids, fear insufficient pain control, which may lead them to delay necessary surgeries and procedures, worsening their underlying conditions.
Genetic variations in medication-metabolizing enzymes, which alter how drugs are processed in the body, can influence both the effectiveness of pain relief and an individual’s perception of pain intensity. The Pain Management pharmacogenetic panel assesses how well a medication will alleviate a patient’s pain and whether the patient is at high risk of experiencing adverse effects. Additionally, it identifies genetic anomalies that could heighten a patient’s perception of pain. Equipped with this knowledge, physicians can provide adequate postoperative pain relief and reduce the chances of adverse reactions.
- Improved Efficacy of Mental Health Medications: Untreated depression can have severe consequences, affecting physical health, increasing healthcare costs, reducing productivity, and, in extreme cases, leading to suicide. Yet, finding an optimal treatment plan for depression is often a complex and lengthy process.
Patients with depression or anxiety frequently need to try various medications and adjust dosages to determine the most effective option. Even when patients discover the right medication, relief is not immediate, and 10% to 30% of patients experience treatment-resistant depression.
Therefore, individuals who have not experienced symptom relief with antidepressant medications or those with a family history of poor medication response can benefit from PGx testing. Most antidepressant medications have pharmacogenetic implications, and genetic variability significantly influences a patient’s response. The Mental Health panel in a molecular pharmacogenetic testing report can speed up finding the appropriate treatment.
- Enhanced Medication Adherence: Psychotropic medications are often associated with adverse side effects like weight gain, fatigue, and suicidal thoughts, leading to high rates of non-adherence. Genetic variations contribute to the extent of these side effects. A Mental Health pharmacogenetic panel can assist physicians in identifying medications less likely to cause unwanted side effects while producing the most satisfactory results. As a result, patients are more inclined to adhere to their prescribed medications.
Implementing the insights gained from these tests reduces the likelihood of medication non-adherence and increases the chances of symptom improvement. Patients can benefit from medications tailored to their genetic code and lifestyle.
Physicians no longer need to rely on trial and error to devise the best medication treatment plans for patients. Fortunately, pharmacogenetic testing is rapidly becoming a cornerstone of precision medicine. With this invaluable tool, physicians can enhance patient safety, reduce the risk of side effects, promote medication adherence, and ultimately improve the overall well-being of their patients.
- Trusso, B. (2020, May 21). The Benefits of Pharmacogenetic Testing. Molecular Testing Labs. https://moleculartestinglabs.com/the-benefits-of-pharmacogenetic-testing/