Common Questions About Pharmcogenomics

How do your genes affect your response to medications?

Tiny differences in your DNA can have a huge impact on your body and how it works. On the outside of your body, your DNA determines your basic physical features like your eye color or your height. On the inside of your body, DNA provides a blueprint for all of your organs and tissues, like your heart, lungs, and muscles, and even the smallest proteins or enzymes that your organs and tissues make. These proteins and enzymes determine how your body functions. When you take a medication, your liver is often the star of the show. Some proteins in the liver, such as those called the “CYP450 enzymes,” are especially important in predicting how your body will respond to a medication. Tiny differences in your DNA can cause you to have too much, or too little, liver enzyme activity. This can result in a medication not working as well or a higher chance of side effects.

Why is pharmacogenomic testing important?

In most people, liver enzymes work just as we would expect. So the usual medication dose generally leads to the expected response. Based on genetic test results, though, we can determine more exactly how an individual may respond to a medication, and determine whether a higher or lower dose or a different medication altogether might be required. We will reach out to your healthcare providers if we have any recommendations for them to make changes to your medications.

What genes are we testing?

Our consultation service currently tests genes that affect medications that treat anxiety, depression, heartburn, and pain, along with certain medications used after a heart attack. We will pick the best gene(s) to test for you based on your referral reason.