DNA Testing for Medications
DNA testing has come a long way since it was first used to resolve a murder case in 1986. Today, DNA is used for all sorts of things including determining ancestry and risk for various diseases. There are also DNA tests that can help predict how you will react to different medications.
DNA testing for medications is growing in popularity and is a valuable option for people who take medications regularly. The test arms you with information that can come in handy when your doctor is prescribing medication. They can prescribe more effective medication that won’t cause an adverse reaction.
This type of DNA testing is also referred to as pharmacogenomic testing or medication response testing. It is based on the study of pharmacogenomics – a discipline that studies how DNA affects response to medications.
What Does Pharmacogenomics Testing Do?
A small saliva or blood sample is all that’s needed to do the test. It tells you the following:
- Whether certain medication will be effective for you
- The dosage that would work best for you
Interesting Facts About DNA Testing for Medication
- Your DNA Accounts for 95% of Your Reaction to Medications
Your genetic make-up determines whether or not medication will work as it should. While other factors such as gender, age, and weight also count, they pale in comparison to your DNA. A pharmacogenetic test allows you and your doctor to predict how you will respond to hundreds of medications without having to take them. This can save you a lot of trouble and pain from adverse reactions to medication.
In some cases, you may find that you have genetic variants that lead to faster than normal processing of medication. Consequently, medication moves through your body too fast for a standard dose to be considered effective. This may require that your doctor prescribe a higher dose. On the flip side, you may have genetic variants that slow down the breakdown and absorption of certain medication in your body. This would require the doctor to prescribe lower doses to prevent a buildup of the medication in your system. This can lead to adverse effects such as poisoning.
Getting a DNA test done will take the guesswork out of the medication prescription process.
- You Learn How You Will React to Different Medication Meant for Different Medical Conditions
With just one test, you learn how your body would respond to all sorts of medications used to treat various medical conditions including pain, anxiety, nausea, depression, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and others. Make sure to find out all the medications covered by the DNA testing lab. Not all medications are covered since some are not impacted by your DNA. Other medications need more research done to determine their interaction with DNA.
Talk to a DNA professional at CRI genetics to help you understand how a pharmacogenetic test can help.
- The Test Must Be Ordered by a Registered Healthcare Provider
It is illegal for anyone other than a licensed healthcare provider to order a pharmacogenetic test in the U.S.A. This requirement is down to the need for a doctor to review and interpret your results. The results are complex and you can’t do much with them without the help of a doctor. A doctor would be in a position to identify the medications that would affect you negatively and recommend others.
- You can Use the Results for Years to Come
Your DNA doesn’t change. For this reason, you can use the results obtained from a pharmacogenetic test for the rest of your life. Whether you are currently on medication or will need some in the future, the results can be used to determine the best way to combat illness.
Limitations of DNA Testing for Medications
- One test cannot be used to determine how you’ll react to all medications. You may have to do more than one test if you’re taking or planning to take more than one medication.
- The tests are not available for all medications.
- There are no pharmacogenomic tests for most over-the-counter pain relievers such as Aspirin.
The Cost of Pharmacogenomics Testing
The cost of the test varies based on the test ordered and whether you have health insurance. To understand the cost implications, do the following.
- Get an estimate from your DNA test provider of choice.
- Check whether your insurance company covers pharmacogenomic testing. Make sure to raise any concerns you may have about coverage.