Did you know more than half of the 4 billion prescriptions written in America this year will not work as intended (IMS, Trends Mol. Med. 2001)? It’s true, and the answer to why that’s the case lies in our DNA.
Individuals respond to medication differently, in large part because everyone’s DNA is unique. In fact, up to 95 percent of how you respond to a drug is based on your DNA (Pharmacogenetics 1998). A drug that’s effective for one person may have no therapeutic effect for another person, show a partial response in someone else, or cause undesirable side effects for another.
That’s a big problem.
Taking a medication without knowing how it may affect you can have potentially harmful consequences. You may waste time and money, you may not respond to the medication, or you may experience adverse drug reactions, which are now the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States (JAMA 1998).
How can you be more informed about which prescriptions may work best for your body? By getting familiar with your own DNA.
Pharmacogenomics is an emerging field that’s helping physicians make better prescription decisions. It combines the study of how drugs affect our bodies (pharmacology) with the study of our genes and their functions (genomics). By analyzing your DNA, you and your physician may better understand how your own body may respond to certain medications, even before taking your first dose.
One pharmacogenomics company, OneOme, is working to help more individuals benefit from this science through a simple cheek swab test available by physician order.
OneOme RightMed – a $249 pharmacogenomic test – may help save time and money by reducing the trial-and-error approach often used to identify the appropriate medication. It may also increase drug effectiveness, prevent unintended interactions with other medications and reduce undesired side effects.
Who can benefit from a test like this?
Tests like RightMed are especially meaningful for those who are taking cardiovascular medications, medications for psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression, multiple medications, or medications that cause unwanted side effects. However, for people not currently on any medications, knowing their pharmacogenomic profile in advance might make finding the right medication faster and more effective when and if the need arises.
What you can do now?
*Learn more about pharmacogenomic testing. Many physicians know and understand how pharmacogenomics can help their patients, but it’s important that patients take a proactive role in their healthcare, too. Download OneOme’s patient toolkit at oneome.com/patient and bring it to your next appointment.
*Talk to your physician about pharmacogenomics and ask about the RightMed test. Present the materials you downloaded from the OneOme website as a resource to help guide your discussion. Your physician can order the test for you, and the results will be delivered in an easy-to-read report.
Remember, you and your physician are a team when it comes to your health. Together, you can discover how a pharmacogenomics test can help make your prescriptions more effective and keep you safe from adverse drug reactions. Talk to your physician to see if the RightMed test is right for you.