SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — There is a lot of variability in how individuals respond to medications.

In theory, recognizing these differences can allow for better medication management, fewer side effects, and cost savings, according to Dr. Barbara Bumberry with Mercy Hospital.

Pharma-cogenetic is the role of genetic variations on an individual’s response to drugs.

  • Potential Benefits:
    • -Treatments tailored to an individual’s unique genetics.
    • -Optimizing drug prevention strategies.
    • -Avoidance of using medications with lower efficacy
    • -Decreasing unnecessary exposure to medications with increased toxicity.
    • -Can help determine which cancer patients will need treatment and which treatments to use.
  • Limitations:
    • -High cost of testing.
    • -Need for a greater diversity of genetic information in databases.
    • -DTC testing can give a false sense of security.
    • -Ethical dilemmas, eg. Do we test for conditions for which there is no cure?
    • -There are very few studies evaluating the cost-effectiveness of this type of treatment.