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How Pharmacogenetics Benefits Your Health

by | Dec 23, 2023 | Uncategorized

During most doctor’s visits, a medical assistant or nurse practitioner will ask, “Are you allergic to any medications?” You can only answer based on your experience with certain medicines. However, you can’t speak to those you have never taken, so how can you be sure?

Genes can significantly affect how our bodies react to certain drugs. Pharmacogenetics has proven to be a biomedical science useful in understanding and improving overall health by knowing whether a drug will cause adverse reactions. It has also proven effective in designing a personalized pain management plan, making alternative medicine decisions, and more.

Our team at {Sub:BusinessName} serving Gwinnett County can help you better understand pharmacogenetics and how this study can promote wellness.

What Is Pharmacogenetics?

At its most basic form, pharmacogenetics is the study of how certain individuals respond to specific drugs based on a genetic profile. More specifically, many genetic tests developed from this study report on 33 genetic deviations associated with drug responses to prescribed medications. Still, the data surrounding this field is not absolute or 100% conclusive.

You may have also heard the term “pharmacogenomics,” a much broader study. The difference is that pharmacogenetics studies drug response based on heredity and DNA, and pharmacogenomics focuses on how all genes affect an individual’s drug response.

4 Benefits of Pharmacogenetics

1. Improve Patient Safety

The ability to tailor drug treatments to patients required to take various medications multiple times daily has created greater safety and efficacy. A 2004 study suggests pharmacogenetics could benefit patient safety by:

  • Reducing hospitalization – Understanding the relationship between your genes and your medications can reduce severe and life-threatening reactions that could result in hospitalization.
  • Preventing serious injury – Drug impairment is possible if the amount ingested is more than necessary for your genetic makeup. Pharmacogenetic testing information can prevent the likelihood of overdosing and serious injury due to drug impairment in the workplace or at home.
  • Improving health care costs – A 2018 meta-analysis found that pharmacogenetic testing helped save patients an average of over $3,000 in direct medical costs over the course of a person’s life.
  • Aging healthily – Those 60 years and older are more susceptible to negative drug reactions. Pharmacogenetics may shed light on selecting particular drug treatments in elderly individuals and help tailor dosage based on genes.

2. Design an Effective Pain Management Plan

Pain is considered subjective and often challenging to treat, and patient responses to certain prescribed drugs can vary greatly. So, it is difficult to administer a proven treatment across the board to address all pain conditions. However, pharmacogenetics can help bring consistency to medication therapy by delivering customized and personalized medical care designed for each person based on gene deviations.

Opioids are a common pain management drug but have addictive properties that have led to the deaths of over 218,000 people in the U.S. from opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2017. With continued study, pharmacogenetics can be a formidable ally against the opioid crisis that the CDC declared an epidemic in 2012.

3. Discover Medication Alternatives

One of the most impactful benefits to emerge from pharmacogenetic research is discovering alternative medications and pain management options for those predisposed to adverse drug reactions, especially in cancer and AIDS. With various side effects prevalent in many pain management medications administered, pharmacogenetics has made it possible for patients to discover the genetic possibility of poor drug reactions without physically suffering said reactions.

Research continues advancing when looking at cannabis and cannabinoids as alternative medical treatments for certain conditions and pain relief. In fact, a study in 2020 looked at two pharmacies in Ontario, Canada, that offered pharmacogenetic testing to cannabis users for two months.

The results suggested that:

  • 95% of cannabis users metabolize THC normally
  • 35 to 25% of users had a moderate risk of cannabis-induced psychosis
  • 10% had an intermediate or high risk of cannabis-induced neurocognitive impairment

Following the results and consultation, 65% of participants reported increased comfort levels when choosing a specific strain and strength of cannabis based on the pharmacogenetic testing. At the same time, over 70% of participants reported that their pharmacogenetic consultation provided important information vital to their health.

4. Reduce Weight Gain

Genetics plays a significant role in our body makeup, how it reacts to specific medications, and how severe the reactions are. Some prescription drugs can slow metabolism, meaning the body burns calories slower and may even cause water retention.

Some prescription drugs cause other reactions that contribute to weight gain, including:

  • A loss of energy and motivation to be active
  • Intensifying hunger signals, causing more cravings for certain foods
  • Reducing satiety and fullness
  • Promoting adipose fat storage
  • Disrupting fluid release mechanisms

Researchers have found inconsistencies in behavioral approaches to sustained and prolonged weight loss, leading to a deeper dive into how genes affect body composition and weight. With the help of pharmacogenetics, we have gained a better understanding of pharmacotherapy (the treatment of a condition with medication) and how to treat people more consistently and accurately.

ARCpoint Labs of Atlanta Northeast Can Help You Understand Your Health

You don’t have to be in the dark regarding your health. Our Gwinnett County lab technicians and professionals offer various services, including DNA testing and wellness panels, to help you understand more about your genetics and how to better care for yourself.

ARCpoint Labs of Atlanta provides answers to aid in your well-being. Schedule your appointment in Gwinnett County by calling (470) 508-4330 today.

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