Most medications available today – whether prescription or over the counter – were developed using a “one size fits all” approach. Indeed, it wasn’t until relatively recently that pharmaceutical companies began including women in clinical trials of new medications.
Faced with a wide array of medications designed to treat the same condition, and patients whose response to medication cannot be predicted accurately, physicians have often been forced to take a trial-and-error approach to prescribing.
As a patient, you’ve likely experienced this. Your doctor prescribes one medication with the sincere belief it is the best treatment for your illness. You take the prescription to your local pharmacy, have it filled, and start treatment … only to experience troublesome side effects, no effect, or hyper effectiveness.
Now, at this point, you have another trip to the doctor’s office and try another prescription. Maybe it will work for you or maybe it won’t? If you’re in luck, most times you get the right prescription the first time, however not always. Often, you will need to try up to two, three, or even more medications to find what will work best for you.
A new field of medicine is radically changing the trial-and-error landscape. Called pharmacogenomics, it uses information about a person’s genetic makeup, or genome, to choose the drug and dosages that are most likely to work best for him or her. Pharmacogenomics combines the science of how drugs work with the latest research into the human genome.
Not only does pharmacogenomics allow the physician to better select the right medication to treat the condition, it allows them to better avoid those that may be detrimental, including ones for which the patient may have a higher risk for abuse or addiction.
Pharmacogenomics testing in Lexington
Now, advanced pharmacogenomics testing is available right here in Lexington. Lexar Labs is a full service toxicology lab that serves the needs of physician offices, outpatient clinics, hospitals, residential drug treatment centers and more.
Lexar Labs provides pharmacogenomics testing for 25 genes that research has shown to play a role in the body’s use of medications. DNA is gathered using a simple cheek swab and sent to Lexar for evaluation.
The referring physician receives a complete report of the patients’ genome, phenotype and genotype, with specific recommendations regarding medication therapy. The report explains the results of the testing and advises physicians on specific medications, with suggestions to prescribe as normal, proceed with caution, consider an alternative, decrease dosage or increase dosage.
Pharmacogenomics is proving itself valuable to providers across multiple medical specialties, including:
• Cardiology: Pharmacogenomics helps to predict the body’s response to drugs designed to lower cholesterol, manage hypertension, control heart rate and rhythm, and thin the blood to prevent clotting.
• Psychiatry: Testing can help the clinician identify the medication most likely to affect the condition being treated with the fewest side effects. This is especially important because this patient population is at significant risk of discontinuing therapy.
• Pain Management: We now know that not only do patients metabolize pain medications differently but they also experience pain differently. Pharmacogenomics testing can assist the clinician in understanding the patient’s individual pain response as well as the best medications to treat the pain. This, in turn, can lead to reduced risk of misuse, abuse and addiction.
• Oncology: Pharmacogenomics can aid clinicians in selecting the best medication to successfully treat cancer while helping to minimize side effects and discomfort.
Pharmacogenomics can help urologists select the best medication to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and urinary incontinence; help endocrinologists with the effective management of diabetes; assist rheumatologists in treating arthritis; and in the treatment of infectious diseases, including HIV.
In addition to helping ensure existing medications are used in the safest, most effective way, pharmacogenomics will lead to the development of new, highly effective drugs with fewer side effects. Because of our increased understanding of the human genome, researchers may be able to revive medications that were once abandoned in development because of side effects that may not apply to all populations.
Find out more
If you are clinician who would like to learn more about pharmacogenomics testing in your practice, please call Lexar Labs at (859) 543-2202. A Lexar Labs representative will be happy to answer your questions and discuss how we can help you provide truly individualized care to your patients.
If you’re a patient who is interested in learning more, please visit our website at lexarlabs.com or speak to your physician about whether pharmacogenomics testing might be beneficial to you in enhancing your medication treatment.
Lexar Labs is a full service laboratory specializing in toxicology. Lexar uses Lc/MS in testing for hospitals, physician offices, inpatient treatment programs and outpatient recovery centers. Lexar Labs is located at 3221 Summit Square, Suite 100-150, Lexington, Ky. Lexar Labs can be reached at (859) 543-2202 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.