Medication DNA Testing (PGx)

Have you ever wondered why some medications work for some people and not for others? Ever

wonder why some people have serious side effects to some medications while others do not? This is

based on one’s unique genetic profile. Your genes

can affect how quickly your body breaks down (metabolizes) medicine and gets medicine into your


When a medication does not work well with your genes, you may not get the relief you need and you may have unwanted side effects. By gathering information about your genetic profile, you and your healthcare provider can make better informed decisions regarding your treatment.

Are Genomics and Genetics The Same Thing?

No, though it is a common mistake to use genetics and genomics interchangeably. Genetics is the study of a single gene and its role in how conditions are passed from one generation to the next. Genomics is the study of all parts of an organism’s genes.

How Does It Work?

Pharmacogenomics uses information about a person’s genetic makeup, or genome, to choose the medication and dosage that are likely to work best for that person. Until recently, drugs have been developed in a “one size fits all” kind of approach.

Pharmacogenomic tests evaluate a person’s DNA to determine how they may metabolize or respond to medications. This type of testing helps guide healthcare providers in choosing medications and dosing. While it cannot confirm which medications or doses will work for a patient, it can point out which medications to avoid.

There are two types of genes studied in pharmacogenomics:

  • Pharmacodynamic: these genes make proteins that affect how a medication works and what it does to the body

  • Pharmacokinetic: these genes make proteins that affect the movement of the medication through the body (i.e., enzymes in the liver that break down the medications)

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