Understanding Pharmacogenomics

Understanding pharmacogenomics

 

Could a Simple Mouth Swab Protect You from Adverse Drug Reactions & Help Your Physician Find the Medication That’s Right for You?

Why would a company promote their drug for a specific medical condition in an advertisement when they are required to list ALL the possible side effects that a patient might experience? They are telling their patient market for example, if you take our drug you might experience a seizure, excessive bleeding or even suicidal thoughts!  So why do patients still agree to take these medications despite these warnings? The answer is simple- 1) we accept the risk of side effects when we believe that the benefit of taking the drug is worth the risk 2) we have come to believe that side effects are just part of being treated with some medications 3) we trust our doctors to have the knowledge to minimize the risk when prescribing us medication.

The truth is however, unfavorable drug reactions are a major concern for all clinicians who prescribe drugs, and most patients have experienced everything from small insignificant side effects to life threatening reactions.  According to Harvard University, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, a total of 840,000 people in hospital are given drugs that cause serious adverse reactions. Newly approved drugs cause an adverse reaction in 1 out of 5 people. About 128,000 people in the US die each year from the drugs prescribed for them, and there are about 200,000 deaths in Europe from prescribed prescription medications.

For those who suffer with health conditions, even with a 1 in 5 risk of a negative drug reaction, they are willing to take the chance. But wouldn’t it be fantastic if physicians could better separate individuals by who may react negatively to certain drugs and those who might greatly benefit from them? In other words, the clinician could use genetic testing to make sure they are giving the right dose, to the right patient, at the right time! Think of the lives saved and the suffering that could be prevented!

The good news is that we aren’t talking about the future…we are talking about what is possible NOW! Although genetic testing is a new option for clinicians and patients, it is available now through a new field called pharmacogenomics.  This field combines pharmacology (the science of drugs) and genomics (the study of genes and their functions) which allows for the development of safe medications and doses tailored to a specific person’s genes.  Although pharmacogenomics is not available everywhere, there are hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices right now swabbing patients mouths and sending the samples to pharmacogenomic companies that ensure the samples go to labs who specialize in the specific type of genetic testing, depending on the patient’s needs.

The test results are provided to the clinician in an easy to review Patient Medical Record, which then allows for safer prescribing and better outcomes for patients.  If you are interested in learning more about genetic testing, click here and complete the form. Protect your patient’s, reduce your liability and become a part of Community Health Focus, Inc’s efforts to improve health care now.