Significance Of Pharmacogenomics In Healthcare

  •   Danielle L’Ami

Pharmacogenomics or PGX holds many potential benefits for prescription drug users as well as the healthcare industry.

Image of a woman illustrating the significance of pharmacogenomics in healthcare.

Significance Of Pharmacogenomics In Healthcare

Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genes affect a person’s response to drugs.The word pharmacogenomics originates from pharmacology ( the science of drugs), and the study of genes and their functions, or genomics.

Some people struggle to sleep even if they have a copy of coffee first thing in the morning. Others can have a triple espresso right before bed and sleep like a baby. What drives the difference? Your genetics. How each individual metabolizes (breaks down) caffeine is dictated by an enzyme in your liver that makes you a slow or fast caffeine metabolizer. 

Just as we differ in the way we handle caffeine, the variants in our genes affect the body’s response to medications.  Pharmacogenomics helps guide safe prescribing practices while helping providers ensure the medications are safe and effective medications based on your genetics.



The Seven Benefits of Pharmacogenomics

According to studies, there are seven fundamental benefits to pharmacogenomic testing.

  1. Helping providers pick medications that will be effective and safe for your body. But this also means that you, as a possible consumer, avoid the trial-and-error period and go straight to finding the right medicine for your particular genetic makeup.
  2. Genetics will tell you and your practitioner how quickly or slowly you break down certain medications which will guide more specific dosage recommendations. This also limits the possibility of an overdose.
  3. Help improve the potency and precision of medication. Because pharmacogenomics allows pharmaceutical companies to create drugs based on the proteins, enzymes, and RNA molecules that are associated with your genes and diseases, researchers can create drugs that maximize the medicinal effects and limit damage to nearby healthy cells.
  4. Individuals >65 years and older take an average of 8 medications. Pharmacogenomics will help highlight potential drug-drug interactions which could lead to significant side effects.
  5. We will see an improvement in drug discoveries and the ability for these drugs to be approved more quickly as they are based on specific genetic groups. Overall, the cost and risk factors present in clinical trials will be reduced because they will only target those who are capable of responding to the drug.
  6. Currently, many people, especially those who take SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) have to try 2-3 different medications before they find a medication that words for them. 

Ultimately, a patient’s valuable time is lost, and the cost of health care continues to rise. But through the use of pharmacogenomics, we can lower overall health care costs, and the patient receives the proper medication the first time around.

  1. Lastly, as we’ve discussed in our blogs Epigenetics Explained and Epigenetics Tests: Your Genes Are Not Your Destiny, epigenetics and DNA testing may provide insights into your potential health trajectory, allowing you to make early lifestyle changes to lessen the severity of a genetic disease.

These changes can be based on the diet you consume, how you exercise, and even where you choose to live. Having an epigenetics or DNA test and knowing what you are predisposed to can ensure proper monitoring and treatments. 

Adding pharmacogenomic testing to the mix means doubling your chances that the therapy you receive is tailored just for you.  



Is Pharmacogenomic Testing Right for You?

Have you ever had to take medicine to treat an ailment only to find out that it’s not the right one for you? Money spent, and time wasted to ultimately not get the treatment you need is frustrating. But this is where pharmacogenomic testing can help.

Getting medication tailored to your needs the first time, comes at a lower cost and can help give you valuable time back on your life expectancy. Picture it like this, you stop guessing when you need to drink your coffee in order to obtain high quality sleep, the first time.

If you think that pharmacogenomic testing may be the right solution for you, and your medical journey, speak to your doctor. You may want to refer your physician here to learn more about pharmacogenomic testing.

Danielle L’Ami

Danielle L’Ami is a logophile who writes her passion and loves to connect with others through her thoughts and personal experiences. When she is not writing, you can find her watching hockey with her husband, torturing her children with new recipes, or practicing yoga to keep herself balanced.

My Toolbox Genomics empowers individuals in their healthcare journey by creating reports focused on genetic predispositions derived from published research. Test results and suggestions are intended to lead to consultation with one’s healthcare practitioner. MyTBG reports do not diagnose disease or medical conditions. Any lifestyle changes should result from consultation with qualified healthcare practitioners.