Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR) is one of the most common causes of deaths worldwide. It also causes 50 deaths out of 1000 patients in India. These statistics highlight the importance of correct drugs for the treatment. This is where Pharmacogenetics plays an important role.
What is pharmacogenetics?
Pharmacogenetics is the study of inherited genetic differences in drug metabolism which can affect individual responses to drugs, both in terms of therapeutic effect as well as adverse effects.
In a last few years, importance of pharmacogenetics has increased tremendously in medical practice. This testing particularly benefits psychiatric patients as the drugs and medications suggested in the treatments can lead to variety of side-effects. The use of pharmacogenetic screening can help the expert to design psychotropic treatments and make informed decisions which prove to be very useful most of the times.
Many cases and studies have been published in recent times which prove the positive results in the patients. Along with the better outcome, genetic testing also helps to decrease the medical costs. Recently, many studies have been published demonstrating improved patient outcomes and decreased healthcare costs for psychiatric patients who utilize genetic testing.
The very first genotyping test used in psychiatry was Roche’s AmpliChip CYP450 test. It received clearance from FDA in December 2004.
The risk of adverse drug reaction is more in children and adolescents who have metabolic disorders as their system finds it hard to break down the new elements in it.
Pharmacogenetics is important in neurology / psychiatrics because –
- It gives an insight of patient’s metabolic response
- Prescribes surer, safer and targeted drug therapy
- Promotes avoidance of Over-dose/ Under-dose
- Minimizes Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR)
- Eliminates trial and error in therapy
- Offers optimum therapeutic response
- It’s an affordable and once in a life-time test
- It protects doctor from medico-legal complications
It is a common belief that high-end medical tests only prescribe equally high-end and expensive treatments. However, it is not the case; pharmacogenetic screening identifies the most effective course of conventional treatments and also suggests equally effective alternate options.
The widespread application and utility of pharmacogenetics in neurology/ psychiatry will only keep increasing along with its knowledge and understanding. With continuous research, it is very vital that medications and drugs will get more narrowed down on the basis of their effectiveness to the patients.