Most of us are familiar with genetic testing. From learning about your ancestry to resolving a child custody case, genetic testing of our DNA has become a normal part of modern society. Today, genetic testing goes a step further to enhance our health and wellness by assisting us in our prescription medication choices and dosages.
This emerging technology is known as pharmacogenetic testing, or PGx. And you need to know about it!
What is Pharmacogenetic (PGx) Testing?
What if a simple blood test could help you and your doctor choose your best prescription medication options? That day is here, and it’s in your DNA.
PGx testing works by looking at your genomes - that is, your DNA found in the cells of a blood sample. It identifies the specific gene sequencing particular to every individual. In doing so, these tests help you and your doctor better understand how you - uniquely - metabolize medications. Are you a slow metabolizer? Or a fast one? That matters, and your genetic markers provide keys to how your body will react to more than 140 different drugs.
Better Prescription Drug Outcomes Based on Your DNA
As just one example, consider Warfarin. Doctors commonly prescribe this drug to prevent blood clotting and negative outcomes such as stroke or heart disease. But blood clotting is also necessary at a certain degree. It helps us heal, and prevents excessive bleeding in cases of cuts or lesions. In other words, you don’t want too much blood coagulation or too little. It’s a balance you want to get just right for better health and longevity.
PGx testing assists doctors in better understanding how you metabolize Warfarin and prescription. With this understanding, they can better manage dosages and frequency of use. Even athletes and other people who are active benefit from understanding how their bodies metabolize prescription medications. In some cases, a substituting one pain reliever for another may increase benefits while mitigating side-effects. A PGx test from a simple blood sample can help you and your doctor better manage these and other prescription medications.
PGx Testing is Valuable for Mental Health Prescriptions
Where PGx testing really shines in recent years is in the world of psychiatric medicine. Whether treating ADHD, depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental health issues, PGx testing can be critical. That’s because some people break down - or metabolize - medications such as Wellbutrin, Paxil, and Prozac at different rates than others. For best outcomes, such as mood stability, it is imperative to understand if the patient is a fast or a slow metabolizer. That is, understanding how much and how rapidly the drug enters the patient’s bloodstream.
This information provides your psychiatrist or other provider with information critical to managing your prescription dosages. For instance, a fast metabolizer may require smaller dosages ingested more frequently. This approach helps keep the level of medication in your bloodstream more level throughout the day. And that is critical for achieving the best results from your antidepressant or other mental health prescription medication.
PGx and Other Genetic Testing at ARCpoint Labs
Not everyone gets a DNA test for the same reasons. PGx testing to better balance your prescription medications is just one application of this exciting technology. You may require genetic testing for legal purposes or simply to understand more about your genealogy and heritage. Whatever the reason, ARCpoint Labs is here for you. We provide safe, simple, accurate testing to help you better understand who you are and take control of your health and wellness.
Best of all, you won’t need insurance. In fact, all pricing is fair and up front. Most of our patients are in and out of our friendly, local facilities with results sent directly to them within days. Find your nearest ARCpoint Labs to learn more and schedule your safe, fast, and accurate genetic test!