What is Pharmacogenomics?
Pharmacogenomics, abbreviated PGx, is the study of how your genes affect your body’s response to certain medications. PGx is sometimes referred to as Pharmacogenetics or drug-gene testing. All terms describe the same thing, the study of how your genes may affect your body’s response to certain medications.
Genes hold a lot of information and are inhered from your biological parents. They make up your unique genetic information which determines everything about you, including characteristics such as your eye color, hair color, and blood type. Genes can also influence how you respond to medication.
Depending upon your individual genetic make-up, some medications may work faster, or slower, or you may be more likely to have side effects.
PGx helps guide optimal drug selection and dosing to minimize side effects and maximize how well they work.
What can Pharmacogenomics testing tell me and my health care provider?
PGx testing can tell your health care provider about:
- The speed at which you are to likely process, breakdown, or eliminate certain medications from your body
- Information about the target within your body of certain medications which can influence how you may respond to medications (will they do their job and/or cause side effects)
The goal of PGx testing is to help identify the best medications for you, before you even take the first dose! PGx testing can help to determine:
- How likely/not likely a medication is to work for you
- How likely you may be to have side effects
- What may be the optimal dose
PGx is not the only factor that impacts how you may respond to a medication, but it is an additional piece of information your provider can use to help choose the right medication for you from the start. It adds another piece of information to the patient care puzzle.
What Factors Impact Response to Medications?
PGx testing is an additional tool your health care team can use to help choose the right medication for you. It is adding another piece of information to the patient care puzzle to help us understand how you may respond to certain medications. However, other factors can impact everyone’s response to medications and may include:
- Genetics (PGx Testing)
- Prescription medications
- Over-the-counter medications and supplements
- Overall health
- Other medical conditions
- Smoking Habits
- Tobacco and drug use
- Alcohol Use
- Previous Surgeries