Everyone responds differently to medications. Some have side effects, while others don’t experience them at all. Your genes play a role in dictating how your body system reacts to medications. That is where pharmacogenomics comes in.
What Pharmacogenomics Is
It refers to the study of how genes impact the way respond to medications. This field often combines genomics and pharmacology to develop safe and effective medications, which may be prescribed depending on an individual’s genetic makeup.
Most medications, which are currently available, are basically one size fits all. However, they don’t work similarly for every individual.
It may be hard to predict who can benefit from medications and who won’t at all. Adverse medication reactions are the major cause of deaths and hospitalizations, especially in the US.
Researchers and medical experts are learning the way variant in genes impacts the body’s reaction to medications. These genetic disparities can be used to know whether a drug is going to be effective for an individual and which dose may help prevent reactions.
Conditions, which may impact an individual’s reaction to some drugs may include thiopurine S-methyltransferase deficiency, malignant hyperthermia, warfarin resistance, warfarin sensitivity, and clopidogrel resistance.
How It Works
Medications interact with the body system in various ways, based on how you take drugs and where they act. After taking medications, your body will have to break them down and go to the intended place.
Your genetic makeup may affect several steps in this process, influencing how you react to drugs. Examples of these interactions are the following:
- Drug receptors
- Drug uptake
- Breakdown of drug
- Targeted development of drug
Genetic Testing and Pharmacogenomics
Standard genetic testing refers to testing which searches for a specific gene. For instance, testing can look for BRCA2 and BRCA1 genes that are linked to high risks of ovarian and breast cancer.
The outcome of a standard genetic test can prompt risk reduction or preventive steps. These steps may involve preventive treatment, lifestyle changes, and frequent cancer screening.
On the other hand, pharmacogenomics refers to a kind of genetic testing. This testing often looks for a small variation in the genes. The variations can determine whether to deactivate or activate a specific medication. Test results of pharmacogenomics will help your doctor to choose the most effective and safest dose and drugs.
Why Pharmacogenomics is Important
Clinical screening programs often examine variants or genes in an unselected population to note the people who are great at getting illnesses like cancers. It also helps to prevent adverse drug outcomes or future illnesses.
Today, it has become an imperative tool in precision medicine. A better understanding of pharmacogenomics will protect your health and explain previous drug responses while guiding your future and current medication therapy.
The capability to use targeted genetic therapy can potentially improve medical treatments, decreasing the risks of adverse drug effects and increasing the medications’ effectiveness. The benefits can also include the following:
- Faster recovery time
- Minimized damage to the surrounding healthy cells
- Targeted therapy for a specific illness with optimal therapeutic impacts
Your doctor will talk about the test results with you. Based on the pharmacogenomics test results, your doctor can make a few adjustments to your medications. Don’t change or stop taking drugs without consulting your doctor first.