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Pharmacogenetics is the new line of research in pharmacy industry that is increasing our understanding of drug interactions. This is the prime area of research of pharmacogenetics…
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Download file to see previous pages While the newer drugs are safer with a higher therapeutic index, the problem does not go away for the 6% of the Caucasian population that is not able to metabolize drugs properly. (Wolf and Smith, 1999, pp 366) Safer drug regimes do not necessarily obviate the possibility of adverse drug reactions or idiosyncrasies. Adverse drug reactions are seen to be a high occurrence with 20, 000 cases reported annually in the UK. The consequences can be fatal and therefore, it is important to carry out informed decision by considering each patient prior to medicating. Still even with the best decision making processes, there is no guarantee how effective a drug will be on a patient. In the US the adverse drug reactions are termed the fourth highest cause of death. (Wolf and Smith, 1999, pp 367) There are estimates that 1 in every 15 individuals hospitalized suffers from adverse drug reactions. Around 106, 000 individuals die annually and 2.2 million are injured each year due to adverse drug reactions. (Wolf et al, 2000, pp 987)

The genetic variation and responses are a new line of investigation in this regard. However, the genetic difference in the response to various drugs is an element that came later into play. Before these, factors such as age, body size, diet, gastrointestinal absorption, compliance with therapy and the characteristics of the drug were considered for each individual. These are still one of the primary considerations for any physician prior to drug dosing. The genetic component came into being by studying patterns of drug behavior in different populations, especially syndromic patients and in those who suffered from cancer or metabolic diseases. The pharmcogenetic variation was a very important discovery in the case of oncology. (Brice and Sanderson, 2006, pp 109) The variable responses of the drugs and their toxic effects have been especially vexing for physicians for treating cancer patients, whose resistance to external insults is already reduced considerably.
For every drug to be therapeutically effective, it must be present in the body in a particular concentration for a fixed amount of time, and then should be able to be metabolized or removed from the system before it accumulates within the body. The individual responsiveness of a drug in the body is not possible to carry out in each individual. However the advent of genetic analysis and therapies are making this a reality in the clinical practice. While still in the formative phases, the pharmacogenetics holds major potential in predicting adverse reaction cases, and the thereby preventing them. While therapeutic synchronicity and adversity among different drugs is well documented and reported, the genetic predisposition at the individual area was not documented as thoroughly. (Wolf and Smith, 1999, pp. 367) Now researchers understand the role of genetics in the predisposition and nature of the disease progress, and how it can be prevented or treated accordingly.
Media is playing an important role in promoting the use of genetics and its role in treating disease, while these facts are true, the media often fails to highlight the complexity of the issue. Pharmacogenetics is not simple identification of genes and then creating ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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