How can you know you’re getting the right dose of the right drug at the right time, every time?
Take your Genes Advice!
Can a simple swab of your cheek really help determine whether a given drug may be an effective treatment for you? Or its optimal dosage? Or whether you might experience a serious reaction from taking it?
Pharmacogenomics is an emerging science that studies how broad genetic differences in individuals affect their response to drugs. The related field of pharmacogenetics studies how variation in just one gene influences reactions to drugs. The discipline has evolved as an increasingly important part of healthcare since the 2003 “mapping of the human genome” inspired an explosive increase in scientists’ knowledge about how the human body works. The goal of the discipline is to optimize medication management and improve your results by taking into account your unique genetic makeup.
GENE and GENOME
Which medications are right for you? The answer is coded right in your genes. When a drug is said to “work,” this refers to a majority of people whose biological pathway can process that medication. A “biological pathway” can simply be understood as the way the body breaks down drugs. Drugs are designed to be broken down by specific enzymes in this pathway. Those enzymes are produced by proteins. The types of proteins you have in your body depend on your genes. So in the end, your body’s ability to process a drug effectively is determined by genetics.
Genes are like your personal set of instructions for assembling proteins. Your DNA bases are ordered in a certain way to code a specific protein. If a single DNA base gets switched in a gene, those instructions now code for an entirely new protein. And if you have a different protein, you will produce a different enzyme, possibly one that is unable to effectively process certain medications. According to the U.S. government website on the human genome, “DNA contains the information needed to build the entire human body … Researchers can use DNA sequencing to search for genetic variations and/or mutations that may play a role in the development or progression of a disease. The disease-causing change may be as small as the substitution, deletion, or addition of a single base pair or as large as a deletion of thousands of bases.” * These changes in the DNA sequence are called mutations or polymorphisms. And it is these changes in your genetic code that influence whether certain medications will or won’t work for you.
Every cell in the human body holds a complete copy of around three billion DNA “base pairs” that make up the human genome. In the drug gene testing provided by Genes Advice, laboratory analysis of saliva can identify changes or variations in one or more genes that can affect your response to certain medications.
The science of pharmacogenomics, while still in its infancy, holds the key to unlocking infinite mysteries about how you will respond to any number of medications. It is at the heart of the “personalized medicine” patients hear so much about. Genes Advice currently offers a comprehensive genetic drug tests to help patients seeking the best treatment at the best dosages.
Our tests provide a breakdown of the biological pathways in a patient and flag any pathways that are atypical. It also lists any drugs that are used by each pathway, making it simple for doctors to know which drugs will and won’t work for any given patient. Genes Advice tests even go beyond just saying whether a drug will or won’t work well in your system. Our analysis also includes exactly what amount of each type of drug will work best for your system based on your specific metabolism. So that means you get the right drug at exactly the right dose. And you know what that means—less side-effects and faster relief.
Let’s look at one example of how it worked
In 2009, a middle-aged patient named Karen came into a Naples hospital with cloudy vision. Her muscles were aching, she was fatigued, her skin was scaly and she had an irregular heartbeat. After being hospitalized for several days of testing, doctors were stumped.
Karen was referred to the Mayo Clinic, where some of her past medical records were on file.
There, doctors suspected Karen may have suffered a medication sensitivity – that her body wasn’t effectively metabolizing her medicines. A lab test confirmed that Karen had a genetic variant in her CYP2D6 gene, a gene important to her body’s processing of the specific medication she was taking.
Karen’s regimen was changed and her symptoms were greatly relieved. When she told her siblings, many of them had their genes tested for the same variance.
Later, when her brother was prescribed a pain medication that failed, pharmacogenetic testing helped his doctor identify a more effective prescription. Karen’s sister Sue benefited in her breast cancer treatment, as her tests revealed which medication held the brightest promise for minimizing her risk of recurrence.
“I cannot imagine, if you really dug into it, how many patients have been [positively] affected by this one thing … what a gift.”
Video source: http://mayoresearch.mayo.edu/center-for-individualized-medicine/pharmacogenomics.asp; Karen Daggett and Family
How does the test help avoid side-effects?
Some doctors unknowingly prescribe medications that, while work well for most people, cause bad side effects or simply don’t work for their patient. With Genes Advice, doctors not only know exactly which medications will work, but also how much will work best.
“Predictive prescribing” refers to forecasting in advance how a patient will respond to a specific drug based upon their individual metabolism.
A patient’s rate of metabolism is rated:
Ultra-Rapid Metabolizer: Patients showing substantially increased metabolic activity
Extensive Metabolizer: Patients demonstrating normal metabolic activity
Intermediate Metabolizer: Patients exhibiting reduced metabolic activity Poor Metabolizer: Patients with little to no functional metabolic activity
If a patient is a poor metabolizer, they can experience either a build-up of the drug in their system that results in side effects. On the other end of the spectrum, if a patient is an Ultra-Rapid metabolizer they can break the medication down too quickly and the drug does not have time to provide the intended relief. Knowing each and every patient’s rate of metabolism helps to pinpoint exactly what dosage is ideal for providing relief and minimizing side-effects.