Susceptibility to adverse drug events is greatly influenced by one’s genomic background. A growing body of research has not only supported this proposition but also the realization that many of the growing number of adverse drug events that people experience each year may be attributable to a mismatch between an individual’s genotype and the drug they are taking. Gene-drug pairing, or lack of it, can lead to vastly different experiences from one person to another in how one absorbs, distributes and metabolizes the same drug and dosage.
It is a common observation that the same prescription may not have the same desired impact from patient to patient. Among the practical implications of this growing body of knowledge is the opportunity to shorten the timeframe to determine the effectiveness of a drug following an initial prescription. The field of pharmacogenomics is providing many of the answers to these observations.
Over the coming weeks and months, IMG will be introducing a pharmacogenomics (PGx) panel designed to identify genetic variations in drug-gene response with a particular emphasis on antidepressants and analgesics. The recent statement by the US Preventitive Services Task Force (USPSTF), published January 26th, 2016, recommends that all adults, especially pregnant and postpartum women, be screened for depression. An extended titration time period (as much as 6-8 weeks) associated with antidepressants, means that testing to determine the appropriate drug and dosage based on genetics can significantly help patients get on the road to feeling better more quickly.
While there are several laboratories providing such a service, IMG is basing its panel on the highest levels of evidence currently available for each gene-drug pair and supporting this laboratory offering with the ready availability of a genetic counselor to help interpret the results and their meaning for medication choices and dosage as well as implications for teratogenic effects during pregnancy. In the coming weeks, we will provide you and your colleagues with materials and discussion on how you might bring PGx to your patients.