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Getting Pharmacogenomicsinto the Clinic

This Medical News Article Discusses Barriers to Widespread Implementation of Genotype-Guided Prescribing

What if there were a way to know if a depressed patient would respond to an antidepressant—before it was prescribed? Or to predict a bleeding event from an antiplatelet therapy? In recent years, advances in genetic testing have made such drug-response predictions possible for patients with certain gene variants. But physician adoption is moving slowly, say experts in the growing field of pharmacogenomics.

“While we’ve made tremendous rapid advances in terms of basic science and technological advances, and [while] clinical outcomes [are] there for some gene-drug pairs, clinical implementation unfortunately has been lagging behind,” said Edith A. Nutescu, PharmD, MS CTS, associate professor and director of the Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomic Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy.

In the results of a nationwide survey by the American Medical Association released in 2012, only 13% of more than 10?000 responding physicians had ordered a pharmacogenomic test in the previous 6 months, although almost all of them—98%—agreed that drug responses may be influenced by genetic variations.

Genotype-guided prescribing—also referred to as pharmacogenetics, or PGx—is expected to become routine as genetic profiling becomes more commonplace.

“[I]t is likely that a time will come in the near future where patients will start to demand the use of such information during care—that they will ask of their physician, ‘Have you considered my genomics?’ before accepting a prescription,” said Peter H. O’Donnell, MD, associate director for clinical implementation at the University of Chicago’s Center for Personalized Therapeutics.

In the meantime, major efforts are under way to prove that pharmacogenomic tests have clinical utility and to make it easier for physicians to choose these tests and interpret and act on the results, translating them into better outcomes for their patients.   For more information, visit the full article here .