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Pharmacogenomics Increases Positive Outcomes


Origins of Hope is proud to announce that we are adding Pharmacogenomics as a service available to our clients. Instead of using trial and error to determine correct medication management, we will use the individual genetics of our clients to determine the correct medication and dosage. Our philosophy of individualized care will now extend to how we prescribe medication, truly giving our clients an individualized medication plan.  

What is Pharmacogenomics?

Pharmacogenomics is the study of how a person’s genetics affects their response to medication.  Studies have shown that people with certain genetics are affected differently by some drugs.  Simple genetic screening can determine if a particular drug could have a harmful effect or if another drug would be more effective.  How well a person metabolizes a drug can determine which will be the correct drug and dosage.  

Benefits of Pharmacogenomics

There are many benefits to pharmacogenomics.  They are:

  • Improved Accuracy. Most medications are given based on a person’s weight or age.  Pharmacogenomics uses a person’s genetics to determine dosage making them much more accurate.  

  • Increase Effectiveness. Pharmacogenomics allows doctors to prescribe the medication most likely to work, increasing its effectiveness and reducing trial and error.

  • Eliminate Adverse Reactions. Studies have shown that certain genetic profiles are more likely to have adverse reactions to certain drugs.  Determining whether these profiles exist before prescribing medication reduces the chance of an adverse reaction.

  • Decrease Healthcare Costs. Using the right medication the first time reduces costs by reducing adverse reactions, reducing failed drug trials, and reducing the long term effect of the disease.  

Trial and Error

Most medications have been prescribed using trial and error. Once a diagnosis is determined, the doctor prescribes a drug that could treat the diagnosis.  For instance, a patient with depression may be prescribed an antidepressant.  There are a variety of antidepressants available since they do not affect every person in the same way.  If the first medication does not work, then another is prescribed, and then another, until a medication is found that works.  This is the same for dosage.  A typical dosage may be chosen depending on the patient’s size, but it will be adjusted until the correct dosage is determined.  Unfortunately, it may take several weeks to determine whether a new drug or dosage is working, and this can cause a person with depression to remain untreated for an extended length of time.  Pharmacogenomics can reduce trial and error by using genetics to determine the most likely medication and correct dosage.  

Prodrug Versus Active Drug

Each type of medication works differently, making them effective for some people and ineffective for others.  How fast a body metabolizes a medication will determine whether certain drugs are effective or not.  

  • Prodrugs. Prodrugs are a category of drugs that need to be metabolized by the body to have the intended effect.  A person with good metabolism will have success with this type of drug, whereas a person with poor metabolism may have the drug accumulate in his/her system which could have potentially negative effects.  

  • Active Drugs. Active drugs are a category of drugs that do not need to be metabolized to have the desired effect.  In fact, metabolizing the drug makes it inactive.  A person with a fast metabolism may not find this drug as effective, whereas a slow metabolizer will have good results as long as the dosage is not too high.  Too high of a dosage could lead to accumulation.  

Pharmacogenomics and Mental Health

Studies have shown that the cytochrome P-450 (CYP) 2D6 enzyme is necessary to metabolize some of the most common psychiatric medications.  People that are poor metabolizers may have adverse reactions to these drugs: paroxetine, fluoxetine, and venlafaxine, all used to treat depression and anxiety disorders.  The FDA has published pharmacogenomics information on 30 drugs used in psychiatry.  

Personalized Medicine

According to the lab Origins of Hope uses for genetic testing:

“Medication sensitivity testing is the cornerstone of personalized medicine. Determining how well a person can metabolize medication raises chances of a positive outcome and reduces possible adverse drug on drug interactions. Personalized medicine conveys a blueprint to how the body’s unique molecular characteristics and distinctions allow it to process medication. A physician will have the data necessary to custom tailor a medication management protocol whereby the current/future adjustments and medication alternatives best for each person may be selected.”

Using genetics to determine the best medication regimen allows us to provide our clients with personalized care that will best help them overcome any mental health issues they are facing.  Medication used in conjunction with therapy is often successful in helping our clients lead happy, healthy lives.  

Start Your Individualized Plan Today!

Call Origins of Hope to learn more about how we use pharmacogenomics to help our clients receive the best care possible.  At our addiction treatment center for women, we don’t just treat addiction.  We understand that addiction is often paired with other underlying causes that also require treatment.  Our comprehensive treatment program treats the whole person. Call today and let us help you start the recovery process.

Call us at (561) 304-4673 or Contact us online