Pharmacogenetics (PGx) Testing

Pharmacogenetics is the study of how people respond differently to drug therapy based upon their genetic makeup or genes. Diet, overall health, and environment also have significant influence on medication response, but none are stronger indicators of how you will process medication than your genetics.

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Description

Pharmacogenetics is the study of how people respond differently to drug therapy based upon their genetic makeup or genes. Diet, overall health, and environment also have significant influence on medication response, but none are stronger indicators of how you will process medication than your genetics.

How Providers use Pharmacogenetics

Utilizing Pharmacogenetics allows a healthcare provider to choose the right drug and dose that are likely to work best for each individual patient. Tailoring a patient’s medication to their unique genetic characteristics may one day replace the one-size-fits-all approach to drug selection and dosing that is commonly used today. Healthcare providers may use pharmacogenetic information to help inform the most appropriate treatment for each individual patient. This includes choosing a drug that is more likely to work, avoiding drugs that may cause side effects, adjusting the starting dose of a drug where appropriate, or determining whether closer monitoring of the drug’s effect is needed.

How does Pharmacogenetics work?

The cytochrome P450 system are a family of enzymes found throughout the body which are responsible for the synthesis and metabolism of various molecules and chemicals within the cell, most notably including the active ingredient of most drugs.

Common variations - known as polymorphisms - in the genes that determine cytochrome P450 enzyme activity may affect the function of the enzymes. These are most commonly seen in the breakdown or metabolism of medication. Drugs may be metabolized quickly or slowly. If a cytochrome P450 enzyme metabolizes a drug slowly, the drug remains active longer and a lower dose is needed to get the desired effect whereas normal doses may cause toxicity. Cytochrome P450 enzymes, particularly CYP2C9, CYP2C19, and CYP2D6, are responsible for approximately 70% of drug metabolism in the body. Additionally, there are other genes outside of the cytochrome-p450 system that affect drug metabolism and as a result - a patient’s response to medications.

Pharmacogenetic testing is primarily concerned with variations in enzymes that affect drug metabolism.

These variations are broken down into four categories based on their expected effect on drug metabolism:

  • Poor
  • Intermediate
  • Normal
  • Rapid / Ultra Rapid

Notes: Doctors' authorization form required.

Pharmacogenetics (PGx) Testing

Pharmacogenetics is the study of how people respond differently to drug therapy based upon their genetic makeup or genes. Diet, overall health, and environment also have significant influence on medication response, but none are stronger indicators of how you will process medication than your genetics.

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