Pharmacogenomics Role in Local Pharmacies

Medical practitioners rely on a number of factors to determine what medications to give you and in what dosage, including your age, weight, gender, and medical conditions. Unfortunately, those considerations don’t always accurately predict how you will react to a particular drug. Two people with the same basic characteristics may have entirely different experiences. That’s why pharmacogenomics research and tests are becoming increasingly important in local health care, including pharmacies.

Pharmacogenomics Research

The term “pharmacogenomics” refers to genetic research that reveals how medications affect you and not the general public. Scientists know that genes are the blueprint for constructing protein molecules and that people often have different versions of the same gene. Proteins help dictate how medications work, which means that understanding these differences will lead to more accurate prescriptions for the individual. Although researchers are still learning about these differences, tests already exist that help individualize prescriptions.

Testing Procedures

Doctors can better predict how you will react to medications by running tests using small amounts of saliva or blood. In some cases, they can learn if a particular medication should work well on you. By studying gene variants, they can also learn what your best dosage would be and what serious side effects you might suffer.

You would only need to do each pharmacogenomic test once, since your genetic makeup does not change over time; however, you might require more than one type of test depending on possible medications for your condition. Your test results might also suggest the need for other family members to be tested since you would share genetic similarities.

Companies can test all categories of drugs to see if your body can properly break them down. If you need prescriptions for handling high blood pressure, gastrointestinal issues, or even anxiety, you can have these medications tested before you begin using them as treatment.

Labs can use one DNA panel to determine your reaction to dozens or even hundreds of drugs. Different labs have different standards, however, so reports from each may vary concerning the number of drug categories and individual drugs they cover.

Local Pharmacy

Some local pharmacies are moving toward the use of pharmacogenomics as part of their services. Most of the testing laboratories work with individual doctors or medical groups, but some are now expanding their efforts to working with pharmacies. This partnership makes sense, since the information can be kept locally and the patient’s pharmacist is already charged with giving medication guidance.

A pharmacogenomic test currently has to be ordered by the patient’s physician. The pharmacist then can perform the test by swabbing the inside of the patient’s cheeks (one swab each). These swabs are sent to the lab along with the drug prescription, a list of the patient’s medications, and some other patient forms. When the results come in, the pharmacist will sit down with the patient and explain the report in depth and in layman’s terms.

The tests alert the patient and pharmacist to possible genetically-caused issues with medications as well as possible negative drug interactions within the current drug regimen. The patient’s physician also has access to the tests to help them better prescribe medications going forward. In this way, providing proper prescriptions becomes a medical team effort.

Pharmacist Advantages

The local pharmacist is an effective advocate and teacher for these tests. They are a familiar face to most of their patients, and their role has always been to offer information and guidance about medications in addition to filling prescriptions. They have access to patient data and can facilitate testing and coordination among the patient’s medical providers. In fact, pharmacists are the logical choice to take and deliver the DNA for testing.

Experts note that pharmacists must be reimbursed for their time, and so local pharmacies need to have a workflow in place that ensures they receive proper remuneration. The use of this testing does give pharmacies a chance to extend their services and be an even bigger part of community health efforts.

Patient Benefits

You will benefit from this testing in several ways. First, you will be spared from taking a potentially harmful or ineffective medication. You will instead receive prompt and proper treatment for your condition, which often improves your long-term outlook. These testing reports also include possible harmful interactions with other drugs you are taking, something that is frequently overlooked, especially if you have a number of doctors treating you. Your medications will be more likely to give you the results you need when you have a pharmacogenomic test.

You don’t need to memorize “pharmacogenomic test,” but you should remember “gene testing.” Ask your doctor and your pharmacist about these tests and how they could benefit your health. Too often, patients expect the same results from a drug that their best friend or co-worker has had. Your genetic makeup may mean that their effective drug causes you serious side effects. Or, the medicine might not affect you much at all, leaving your condition essentially untreated.

Investing in these tests can lead to big improvements in your health. Remember, your DNA is not like anyone else’s, so your medical plan needs to be customized to fit you. Your local pharmacist is uniquely positioned to help you with this plan.

Medical practitioners rely on a number of factors to determine what medications to give you and in what dosage, including your age, weight, gender, and medical conditions. Unfortunately, those considerations don’t always accurately predict how you will react to a particular drug. Two people with the same basic characteristics may have entirely different experiences. That’s why pharmacogenomics research and tests are becoming increasingly important in local health care, including pharmacies.

Pharmacogenomics Research

The term “pharmacogenomics” refers to genetic research that reveals how medications affect you and not the general public. Scientists know that genes are the blueprint for constructing protein molecules and that people often have different versions of the same gene. Proteins help dictate how medications work, which means that understanding these differences will lead to more accurate prescriptions for the individual. Although researchers are still learning about these differences, tests already exist that help individualize prescriptions.

Testing Procedures

Doctors can better predict how you will react to medications by running tests using small amounts of saliva or blood. In some cases, they can learn if a particular medication should work well on you. By studying gene variants, they can also learn what your best dosage would be and what serious side effects you might suffer.

You would only need to do each pharmacogenomic test once, since your genetic makeup does not change over time; however, you might require more than one type of test depending on possible medications for your condition. Your test results might also suggest the need for other family members to be tested since you would share genetic similarities.

Companies can test all categories of drugs to see if your body can properly break them down. If you need prescriptions for handling high blood pressure, gastrointestinal issues, or even anxiety, you can have these medications tested before you begin using them as treatment.

Labs can use one DNA panel to determine your reaction to dozens or even hundreds of drugs. Different labs have different standards, however, so reports from each may vary concerning the number of drug categories and individual drugs they cover.

Local Pharmacy

Some local pharmacies are moving toward the use of pharmacogenomics as part of their services. Most of the testing laboratories work with individual doctors or medical groups, but some are now expanding their efforts to working with pharmacies. This partnership makes sense, since the information can be kept locally and the patient’s pharmacist is already charged with giving medication guidance.

A pharmacogenomic test currently has to be ordered by the patient’s physician. The pharmacist then can perform the test by swabbing the inside of the patient’s cheeks (one swab each). These swabs are sent to the lab along with the drug prescription, a list of the patient’s medications, and some other patient forms. When the results come in, the pharmacist will sit down with the patient and explain the report in depth and in layman’s terms.

The tests alert the patient and pharmacist to possible genetically-caused issues with medications as well as possible negative drug interactions within the current drug regimen. The patient’s physician also has access to the tests to help them better prescribe medications going forward. In this way, providing proper prescriptions becomes a medical team effort.

Pharmacist Advantages

The local pharmacist is an effective advocate and teacher for these tests. They are a familiar face to most of their patients, and their role has always been to offer information and guidance about medications in addition to filling prescriptions. They have access to patient data and can facilitate testing and coordination among the patient’s medical providers. In fact, pharmacists are the logical choice to take and deliver the DNA for testing.

Experts note that pharmacists must be reimbursed for their time, and so local pharmacies need to have a workflow in place that ensures they receive proper remuneration. The use of this testing does give pharmacies a chance to extend their services and be an even bigger part of community health efforts.

Patient Benefits

You will benefit from this testing in several ways. First, you will be spared from taking a potentially harmful or ineffective medication. You will instead receive prompt and proper treatment for your condition, which often improves your long-term outlook. These testing reports also include possible harmful interactions with other drugs you are taking, something that is frequently overlooked, especially if you have a number of doctors treating you. Your medications will be more likely to give you the results you need when you have a pharmacogenomic test.

You don’t need to memorize “pharmacogenomic test,” but you should remember “gene testing.” Ask your doctor and your pharmacist about these tests and how they could benefit your health. Too often, patients expect the same results from a drug that their best friend or co-worker has had. Your genetic makeup may mean that their effective drug causes you serious side effects. Or, the medicine might not affect you much at all, leaving your condition essentially untreated.

Investing in these tests can lead to big improvements in your health. Remember, your DNA is not like anyone else’s, so your medical plan needs to be customized to fit you. Your local pharmacist is uniquely positioned to help

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