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Genetics and Prescription Medicine: Ongoing Research and Developments

March 6, 2018

In 2018, physicians do not have to take a one size fits all approach to medical care. Even when it comes to prescription medicine, physicians are now able to personalize treatment plans. Today, given advancements in the understandings of genetics, physicians are learning how genetic variations have the potential to elicit a variety of responses among patients who are given the same medication. Pharmacogenetics, or pharmacogenomics, is the study of how genes affect the way a person responds to medicines. Since 2000, scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health have been studying connections between genes and medications through the Pharmacogenomics Research Network. Because of the contributions these scientists are making to the knowledge base, prescribers are better positioned to give individual patients medications that will prove effective when prescribed with attention to a particular patient’s genetic variations. More than an astounding three million genetic variations, connected to risk for disease or response to prescription drugs, have been discovered.

In the Tampa Bay area, CooperativeMed’s Dr. Michael O’Neal offers genetics testing. With what Dr. O’Neal learns about individual patients through genetics testing, and his understanding of the current pharmacogenomics knowledge base, he is able to make better decisions about patients’ treatment plans and prescription medicine dosage. Being able to look at patients’ genetics at such a granular level can mean avoiding a trial and error phase with a variety of prescription medicines and dosages. Presently, research exists on how genes are connected to heart attacks and strokes, lung and breast cancer, childhood leukemia, and rheumatoid arthritis. Meaning, physicians can consider those findings, along with the ones from their own patients’ genetic testing, to make more precise decisions about avenues of treatment.

Beyond helping physicians like Dr. O’Neal further personalize medical care, advancements in pharmacogenomics have a part in the development of new prescription drugs. Using genome research will make it possible for developers to improve the efficacy of new drugs and decrease the side effects. Dr. O’Neal is excited about the advancements in personalized prescribing and emphasizes that it can optimize therapeutic efficacy and minimize both adverse drug reactions and drug interactions.

The bay area is fortunate to have a place like CooperativeMed and a physician like Dr. Michael O’Neal at its helm. In addition to offering all aspects of family medicine, it’s great to have a medical practice that has the ability to invest more than average time in each patient and provide an individualized approach to all aspects of care.


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This post was written by Elevate, Inc.

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