There are thousands of cases of adverse drug reactions every year. Many are caused by accidental or intentional misuse of prescribed medications. Other’s are caused by how an individual’s body metabolizes prescription medication. Most Physicians prescribe medication based off clinical experience. Doctors do revert to the trial and error method but do take into account things such as patient allergies when considering a medication. Pharmacogenetic testing can help with this issue. Doctors and patients can predict how a specific medication will interact with a patient by running a simple saliva test prior to the prescription be given.
Understanding Drug Metabolization
Aside from allergies, a main cause of adverse drug reactions is how our bodies metabolize a medication. Genetics affect all individuals of a family. Usually, we talk about our metabolisms in reference to dieting and nutrition. This is because a “metabolism” refers to the way our body breaks down and processes nutrients. The same is true for prescription medication. People have very different metabolisms. In reference to prescription medication, we can classify people’s metabolisms into several categories from a “poor metabolizer” to an “ultra-rapid metabolizer”. If you are a poor metabolizer it will take much longer for a medication to leave your system, and if you are an ultra-rapid metabolizer, a medication may “wear off” quicker. This affects how much of a medication you should take and how often it should be taken. Historically, dosage was decided based on external factors including weight, age, gender, etc. Even over the counter medications have versions for children that are smaller dosages. How your body metabolizes medicine is linked to an internal factor: your genetics. Your genetics determine everything from eye color to how your body processes medication.
What Is Pharmacogenetic Testing
By understanding the link between our genetics and medication, we can predict how someone will interact with a medication before they ever take it. A simple pharmacogenetic test can tell a doctor if a patient is a poor metabolizer, a normal metabolizer, or ultra-rapid metabolizer. By understanding this, doctors can prevent an accidental high dosage of a medication or a low dosage of a medication. Beyond metabolization, our genetics can also tell us about how our bodies may specifically interact with a specific medication. This is especially true for medications that affect our brain chemistry. Depression and anxiety medications come with many side effect warnings. And many patients will tell you that their doctor has had to change their prescription over the years. Instead of going through months of taking the wrong dosage or the wrong medication, pharmacogenetic testing can predict what medications will work best for a patient. In fact, there are now more than 250 medications that have pharmacogenetic information on their labels.
Ask Your Doctor About Pharmacogenetic Testing From TruGenX
When you talk to your doctor about prescription medication, especially for depression/anxiety, you should ask your doctor about pharmacogenetic testing. On average, a patient can go nine months trying different medications and dosages before they find the correct one. During that time they may experience side effects and feel like their medication is not working. Instead, pharmacogenetic testing can help prevent needless trial and error with your medication. For more information about these tests please contact us. For physicians, please send us a message to discuss ordering tests for your practice.