99.7% of the population carries a variant which could lead to an adverse drug reaction and yet medications are still prescribed to individuals on a one-size-fits all basis.
Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) can result in significant healthcare costs, including hospitalization, emergency department visits, and additional medical treatments. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2018, ADRs were estimated to cost the US healthcare system anywhere between $19.3 billion and $74.7 billion annually.
Prescribing medication without first genetic testing can be dangerous because genetic differences can significantly affect how individuals respond to certain medications. Everyone’s genetic makeup is unique, which means that medications can have different effects on different people. By identifying these genetic variations before prescribing medication, healthcare providers can avoid potentially harmful drug interactions and select the most effective medication for the individual.
For example, certain medications may be metabolized differently depending on an individual’s genetic makeup. Some people may be “rapid metabolizers,” which means that their bodies break down medication more quickly than average. Other people may be “poor metabolizers,” which means that their bodies break down medication more slowly than average. These differences can lead to medication levels in the body that are either too high or too low, which can cause adverse side effects or reduce the medication’s effectiveness.
In some cases, genetic testing can also help healthcare providers identify conditions that may not be obvious based on symptoms alone. For example, certain genetic variations can increase the risk of heart disease or cancer, which may impact the choice of medication.
Genetic testing can provide valuable information to healthcare providers when prescribing medication, which improves the overall safety and effectiveness of treatment.