Sanford Imagenetics offers personalized medicine through pharmacogenetics

This piece is presented by Sanford Health.

Finding the correct medication for your body is extremely complicated. Many variables affect each person’s response to medication, and Sanford Imagenetics offers pharmacogenetics — the study of how heredity (genetics and identity) influences your drug response — to help find the best medication for you.

“Precision medicine, often known as personalized medicine, is an approach to disease management which takes into account individual variability in environment, lifestyle and genes,” said Dr. Cassie Hajek, an internist-geneticist physician at Sanford Imagenetics. “Every path of drug metabolism is affected by a person’s genetic makeup. We all process medications differently based on our genes; some process quicker, some slower. Pharmacogenetic testing allows us to look at how your genetic makeup affects your ability to metabolize medication, and a treatment plan can be created around this information.”

A fast, simple blood test can provide guidance to Sanford Imagenetics physicians using your genetic information to define the best therapy and correct dosage for your body and illness. There are several genes that affect the metabolism of many different medications. Testing can be completed for one gene or a panel of genes, and the results of the testing can be used to determine the most effective medication or dose of medication for an individual.

“Due to genetic variability, some people do not respond well to certain medications,” Hajek said. “For example, some patients do not effectively respond to Plavix, a medication for patients with a stent in the heart used to reduce blood clots. Now, we can offer pharmacogenetic testing for the gene that dictates metabolism of Plavix and know before we prescribe the medication how the patient will respond. If the blood test shows the person doesn’t respond to the medication, we can prescribe a different medication their body would respond to.”

Pharmacogenetic testing can be helpful for many other medications. Sanford Imagenetics offers pharmacogenetic testing for eight genes, which covers more than 65 major drug-gene interactions. And the results are available in a patient’s medical record.

Anytime a Sanford physician sees a patient who has completed a pharmacogenetic test and prescribes a medication that is affected by their genes, a real-time alert is sent to the diagnosing physician for any noncompatible medication. The electronic medical record will help the physician change the dose or find an alternative medicine.

“Using pharmacogenetics, Sanford Imagenetics has made a commitment to minimize adverse drug reactions and appropriately dose medications for patients,” Hajek said. “The most effective use of pharmacogenetic testing is before you need it. That way, a patient’s genetic information can be used at the time the affected medication is ordered. Having the test results available before the medication is ordered prevents the need to try different medication or different doses of medication while waiting for your genetic testing results.

“Pharmacogenetic testing can save patients from experiencing adverse drug reactions. It can be powerful,” she continued. “Pharmacogenetics is more precise and helps to eliminate trial-and-error to get patients the right medication at the right dose sooner.”

Learn more at imagenetics.sanfordhealth.org.

Sanford Imagenetics offers personalized medicine through pharmacogenetics

A fast, simple blood test can provide guidance to Sanford Imagenetics physicians using your genetic information to define the best therapy and correct dosage for your body and illness.

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