Medication arranged in the shape of a DNA double helix

TruGenX Takes Aim at Reducing the 1 Million Cases of Adverse Drug Reactions in the US Each Year

Emergency departments throughout America see thousands of cases of adverse drug reactions yearly. Many of these preventable cases are caused by misuse, incorrect dosages, and genetic predispositions of prescribed medications. The truth is that it is difficult for a physician to know exactly how a specific medication could affect an individual patient without pharmacogenetic testing. That’s where TruGenX comes in. Our pharmacogenetic testing provides results that are used to create personalized treatment plans using precision medicine.

What is Pharmacogenetic Testing?

Pharmacogenetic testing has made precision medicine available to all medical professionals. Pharmacogenetics is the study of how differences among individuals cause varied responses to a drug. As the name suggests, pharmacogenetic testing is used to observe the connections between a person’s genetics and how they react to different pharmaceutical drugs. Every treatment or medication has the potential for causing side effects. Physicians and their staff always aim to reduce the risk of side effects. The traditional method of prevention is to gather information on a patient’s medical history. Factors include known allergies, familial history of cancer, previous surgeries and a list of current medications. Doctors and nurses analyze this information to make informed decisions about which medications are safe for a specific patient and at what dosage. 

Why is Pharmacogenetics so Important?

When a medical professional initiates drug therapy as a treatment there are often several different options for them to prescribe. Daily dose is calculated from the dose and the number of times per day the dose is taken. A physician may alter doses and timing based on how the patient differs in size or age. However, in many cases there several unknown variables that could affect how the patient is able to tolerate a medication. This situation will often lead to a “trial and error” treatment plan where dosages, timing, and even the type of medication are adjusted retroactively instead of proactively. Reasons for modifying medications and dosages can range from the drug proving ineffective to severe adverse reactions. Pharmacogenetics aims to eliminate some of the guesswork when prescribing medications. The goal is to save patients money and limit the chances of experiencing potentially harmful adverse reactions.

How Do Genes Play A Role in Reactions to Medication?

There are many factors that affect how a patient responds to a medication. The timing and dosage of a medication are designed based on when an average patient will fully metabolize the drug and remove it from their body. The issue is that individual patients have unique metabolisms and do not all process medications at the same rate. Genes specifically are fundamental to our metabolism by producing proteins known as enzymes.  These enzymes are what break down medications. A person’s genes directly affect the enzymes they produce and therefore impact how quickly or slowly they metabolize a drug. By testing for gene variants, a medical professional can identify if an individual may need a different drug, different dosage, or different timing for their drug therapy.

When is Pharmacogenetic Testing Done?

Medical professionals can test their patient for specific genetic variants at any time during a treatment (including prior to initiating drug therapy, in early phases of drug therapy, or in later phases). Test results are used in conjunction with a patient’s medical history to make better decisions on which drugs to use. Even with pharmacogenetic testing, monitoring the patient is still an important part of any treatment plan. Monitoring how a drug directly affects an individual is still the most accurate way to get information on the relationship between a patient and a medication.

Is Pharmacogenetic Testing Required?

No, pharmacogenetic testing is not required, but the FDA does recommend pharmacogenetic testing for certain medications. Patients may want to consider talking to their doctor about pharmacogenetic testing if there is a concern about potential adverse reactions or a medication not providing efficacy.

How Does Pharmacogenetic Testing Work?

Pharmacogenetic testing utilizes a saliva sample via a cheek swab. The sample is then sent to a clinical lab where specific genetic variants linked to medications are tested.

What Happens with My Genetic Information?

Many individuals worry about privacy when getting any type of gene testing. Pharmacogenetic labs only test for the specific genetic variants linked to the specific drug(s) in question. Test results are based only on these genetic markers. Pharmacogenetic tests will not provide any information beyond the information relevant to medical therapy.

Does Pharmacogenetic Testing Work for Every Medication?

No, pharmacogenetic tests are only provided for a limited number of medication options. This is for a variety of reasons. If there is no researched link between a genetic variant and a medication’s effects on the body, there cannot be pharmacogenetic testing done. Pharmacogenetic testing would also be less effective if there aren’t different treatment options for a patient. Patients should always consult a medical provider with any questions about drug therapy.

Pharmacogenetic Test Kits

TruGenX is a clinical laboratory that offers pharmacogenetic test kits to medical providers throughout America. Our CLIA certified lab provides quick and comprehensive test results to help providers and patients get vital information at any stage of the treatment process. To order test kits, please visit this page.

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