How Can Pharmacogenetics Testing Benefit You?

What is Pharmacogenetics Testing

Pharmacogenetics, sometimes referred to as PGX or pharmacogenomics testing, is concerned with identifying and understanding the role of genes in response to medications. To better match the dosage to an individual’s needs, healthcare professionals may opt to increase or decrease the dose or even change medications. Drug-drug interactions may also influence the choice of drug.

Our unique genetic make-up and our individual response to drugs may account for the fact that we react differently to the same drugs or experience different side effects. In addition to responding in a unique genetic make-up and an individual response, drugs may be less effective or less safe for other individuals at the same dosage, even if they are effective for others.

Many drugs are broken down (metabolized) in the body by various enzymes. Drug metabolism may deactivate (or reduce the activity of) an active drug or activate an inactive one. The goal in drug treatment is to keep active drugs in their active state for as long as possible. Some people have an altered level of enzyme activity, resulting in a poor drug metabolism rate, excessive drug metabolism, or no metabolism at all, all of which result in reduced activity or a delayed drug clearance rate. This may result in the drug’s failure to produce the desired result or to remain in the body for too long and cause adverse effects.

The drug’s target, a protein that it binds to in order to produce its specific effect, might also affect an individual’s response. Genetic variability may also cause medication side effects (known as hypersensitivity reactions) to certain drugs due to variability in proteins involved in the immune response.

Why is Pharmacogenetics Testing Important?

Healthcare professionals typically prescribe one of several appropriate drugs when starting drug therapy for a certain condition. Drug dosages and timings are calculated on the average person’s metabolism and elimination rates. The healthcare practitioner provides a standard dose based on a person’s weight, sex, and age, for example. Despite the fact that patients respond individually to therapy, healthcare professionals must make adjustments. The healthcare specialist may adjust the drug dosage or change therapies if the individual’s condition improves but has adverse or dangerous side effects. The healthcare practitioner may also adjust the dose of a drug or switch therapies if the individual’s condition does not improve or if they display negative or dangerous symptoms while taking an additional drug.

Blood tests may be used to monitor the concentrations or consequences of some drugs, and the dosage might be altered to keep the drug level in a therapeutic range. Therapeutic drug monitoring is the tracking of drug concentrations. If the person’s condition is not treated or controlled, or if the person still experiences side effects, a different drug may be given to them.

Pharmacogenetics gives healthcare providers the ability to customize drug treatment for patients based on their genetic makeup. Testing people prior to starting drug therapy to identify their probable response to various drug classes is an emerging testing category. The use of genetic information might be advantageous to both healthcare practitioners and patients when selecting future and current drug therapies and doses. Certain drugs are already being prescribed based on pharmacogenetics in order to increase the probability of positive results while lowering the risk of adverse outcomes.

What are some examples of pharmacogenetics testing?


Why am I only tested once?

Your genetic make-up does not change over time. You may, however, have other pharmacogenetic tests performed if you take a different drug with a different associated pharmacogenetic test.

What type of specimen sample is used?

The medical technician collects the specimen using a buccal swab by gently brushing the inside of the patient’s cheek. This method is 100% pain-free and takes only a few seconds.

What’s Next?

Pharmacogenetics testing can help you and your healthcare provider make more informed decision about the type and dosage of certain prescription medications based on your genetic makeup. Our Genetworx test includes 30 different genes. Contact ARCpoint Labs of Woburn today to schedule an appointment for your pharmacogenetics test.