Introduction to pharmacogenomics

What is pharmacogenomics?

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Pharmacogenomics (PGx) is the study of how genes affect a person’s response to medications. PGx combines the study of how medications affect our bodies (pharmacology) with the study of our genes and their functions (genomics) to identify effective, safe medications and doses for patients.

How your genes affect your response to medications

When you take a medication, your body’s response is determined by many factors, including your gender, weight, age, diet, other medications, medical conditions, and exposure to environmental agents such as cigarette smoke.

Your genetic makeup also can have a major influence. In fact, genetic factors can account for up to 95% of how you respond to medications.1

Genes are sections of DNA, and variations in your DNA are what make you unique. The different versions of a gene you inherit from your mother and father can determine everything from your eye color to how quickly you process, or metabolize, medications.

How people metabolize drugs

  • PM icon
    metabolizer (PM)

    Metabolizes drugs
    more slowly
    than normal.

  • IM icon
    metabolizer (IM)

    Metabolizes more
    slowly than normal.

  • EM icon
    metabolizer (NM)

    Metabolizes at a
    normal rate.

  • UM icon
    metabolizer (UM)

    Metabolizes more
    quickly than normal.

Depending on variations in your genes, your body may break down (metabolize) a drug too slowly or too quickly. If you metabolize a drug too slowly, you may be exposed to too much of it, which may result in adverse drug reactions (ADRs) or side effects. If you metabolize a drug too quickly, you may not receive enough of it, which may prevent or reduce the desired effect.

Some drugs, known as prodrugs, must first be metabolized into their active form. In these cases the opposite may occur -- if you metabolize these drugs slowly, you may not receive enough of the active form or if you metabolize them too quickly, you may receive too much of the active form.

Understanding how you metabolize drugs may help your physician determine optimal medications and doses.

Testing for today and tomorrow

Pharmacogenomics brings clarity and insight into new and existing medications. It may help with:

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CURRENT PRESCRIPTIONS (REACTIVELY): Providers can get insight into why a patient might be experiencing adverse effects or is not experiencing the expected benefits from a medication they’re already taking

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PRESCRIPTION DECISIONS (PROACTIVELY): Before prescribing a new medication, providers can leverage a patient’s PGx profile to make more informed decisions

Because DNA does not change with time, pharmacogenomic tests may provide years of more accurate decision-making.

Pharmacogenomics, OneOme, and you

Have you ever wondered why a medicine did not work for you when it worked for someone else? Or why you had a side effect from your medication while others taking the same medicine did not? In this video we explain how pharmacogenomics (PGx) and the OneOme RightMed® comprehensive test may provide the answer.