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One of the hallmarks of personalized medicine is pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenetic testing. Using PGx testing, clinicians can prescribe the right drug at the right dose and at the right time for each individual patient.

 

Advances in genomics and related genome sciences have ushered in the practice of personalized medicine, enabling more refined measures of risk assessment and drug response. One component of personalized medicine is pharmacogenomic testing. Pharmacogenomics is the study of genetic variation and individual response to drugs.  There are several genes encoding enzymes, drug transporters, carriers, and membrane channels that are essential for major processes of drug absorption, digestion, metabolism, and excretion. For example, one of the largest family of genes, known as the Cytochrome P450 (CYP), are involved in the metabolism of  >70% of prescription dDoseAffectsrugs. Genetic sequence variations in these genes can lead to altered protein function, potentially resulting in poor outcomes such as ineffective therapy and/or adverse side effects.  Therefore, the use pharmacogenomic testing can inform drug selection and dosing to improve likelihood of responses and reduced side effects, shifting drug therapy from a “one-size fits all” approach to a more individualized approach. In addition, healthcare costs may decrease due to fewer adverse drug events, and less time required. Community pharmacies are beginning to offer PGx testing to patients for certain drugs like Plavix.  It is anticipated that this service will continue to grow with development of more tests.

A number of guidelines have been released to direct the use of PGx when prescribing medications (learn more in our resource links). As use of PGx testing is a new concept to most patients and many providers, it is also important to consider the implementation of testing and what delivery method will promote understanding and the appropriate use of test results. We aim to explore these many aspects of PGx testing and its use in the community pharmacy setting.

The Community Pharmacist Pharmacogenetics Network (CPPN) aims to provide community pharmacists with the resources they need to deliver pharmacogenetic testing efficiently and effectively. The CPPN was established by a research group at Duke University that studies issues related to the delivery of pharmacogenetic testing. Through our work, we have recognized the challenges faced by providers to deliver pharmacogenetic testing effectively and efficiently. Our research group includes Susanne Haga, PhD, Jivan Moaddeb, PharmD, and Rachel Mills, MS, CGC of Duke University. Learn more about us and see a list of publications from our group here and more details about our research here.

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