What Are Pharmocogenetics?

You may be asking yourself, “How can genetic medicine assist me with fall prevention or my health? Or, you may be concerned about a loved one or someone you know who has recently entered into a short term or long term care facility. Let us first examine what “pharmacogenetics” is, then we will mention how and why it can be important for finding the best medicine for you and your loved ones.

According to ScienceDirect, “Pharmacogenetics is the science of understanding how genetic variability influences drug treatment outcomes.” This simply means that if you have your genetics analyzed, you and your doctor can decide on the best medicine for you to take according to how your body will respond. PGx testing includes which drugs are best, how much more accurate your dosage levels will be, meanwhile adhering specifically to your, or your loved one’s, biological composition.

While there will always be environmental risk factors that fall outside the field of genetics, pharmacogenetics can help to better define a patient’s personal risk factors. According to Physiopedia, the average American is on three or more simultaneous medications. Oftentimes, these medications are used to treat a concert of illnesses. While it is the goal of a qualified physician (or pharmacist) to monitor potential side effects and drug interactions, the stark truth remains: no two people experience a medication regimen the same way. The reason? Genetic composition. 

Pharmacogenetics and Fall Reduction

Pharmacogenetics is a newly emergent field of study. For years, doctors and other healthcare professionals have been aware of the link between a patient’s personal attributes (height, weight, etc.) and their overall health, but the introduction of genetics into the equation facilitates a deeper understanding of how those medications work with each individual. While pharmacogenetics has many real-world applications, one of the most immediate and effective is in the field of fall prevention.

An informative article, “Fall Prevention Key to Avoiding Injury,” published by the Baylor College of Medicine, gives general information on fall prevention. Many factors, such as weight and lifestyle, contribute to peoples’ safety in all age cohorts. Understanding the the way in which medicine works with each individual’s body, however, can increase or decrease their chances of experiencing a fall. The best combinations are the safest, both for fall prevention as well as for health in general. Using pharmacogenetics as a baseline, a patient may benefit from a change in the medicine’s dosage, or they may discover, in conjunction with their doctor, alternative medications and therapies with greater personal efficacy.

Certain medications bring with them an inherent risk of falls. Those medications include, but are not limited to, antidepressants, antipsychotics (also known as psychotropics), opioids, sedatives, and hypnotics. Taking a single medication from any of the above classes automatically increases a patient’s chance of falls. Environmental hazards such as stairs, uneven flooring, or cluttered living space greatly exacerbate those risks. In fact, falls most commonly occur in crowded areas such as the bathroom or bedroom as well as during transitions between rooms and floors. When you begin combining other medications into the mix, the combinations can become lethal. 

 Using a genetics test, however, can provide more in-depth information regarding an individual’s pharmacological tolerance, thus greatly increasing fall prevention measures as well as promoting a patient’s general health and safety. A simple pharmacogenetics test can help healthcare providers eliminate medicinal uncertainty, thus contributing to a safer, more effective plan of care for an individual.

Requesting Your Own Pharmacogenetics Test

You may be wondering, “How much trouble is it to have a genetics test taken, and would it be worth my while?” A genetics test can be performed with a safe and simple cheek swab and does not take too much time. The test may provide more information for you than having your blood work done, but it is always best to ask your doctor. Medical clinics that administer PGX genetic testing often do so to discover the best treatment option, correct medicine dosing, and to determine any potential adverse medication effects with the patients.

Pharmacogenetics can help solve or prevent many issues, even mental health. Consider this article from Tesis Biosciences on how genetics can be used to pursue a healthy mind. You may want to communicate with TesisBiosciences to ask about pharmacogenetics; contact us.

Fall Prevention Through Genetic Testing

Fall prevention is important; a single injury can be detrimental to your lifestyle. Understanding the best combination of medicine to take for your health depends on you and your doctor. One way to ensure the best medicine, for you, is to request a genetics test. By analyzing your DNA, you will have information related to what medicines are best for you.If you or your loved one is at an increased risk for falls, it is worth the extra time and steps to craft a better, safer plan of care involving that involves genetic testing.