DNA Testing – Pharmacogenetics

There is growing evidence that genetic information can be useful in refining the choice of addiction treatment. Pharmacogenetics, the study of genetic variation underlying individual differences in drug metabolism (pharmacokinetics) and drug response (pharmacodynamics), in conjunction with other biomarkers to identify disease states and therapeutic response, can aid in personalizing prescription.

Studies of several genes have yielded significant findings suggesting that pharmacogenetic studies may lead to the selection of individual-appropriate medication for the treatment of drug dependence and to increased cessation rates.

Using sequencing technologies in which up to a billion DNA fragments are simultaneously sequenced in a single run on one machine, we can identify and catalog all common human genetic variants with the goal of using this information to find the genes that affect individual responses to medications. The process begins with the collection of a patient’s saliva, which then undergoes genetic testing to provide us with an “addiction panel”, allowing our doctors to measure the patient’s individual ability to metabolize currently prescribed or prospective medications and identify the patient’s likelihood to become addicted to secondary substances as well.

Research shows that pharmacogenetic factors play a role in response to addiction pharmacotherapy and have the potential to aid in the personalization of addiction treatments. Such data from genetic testing can lead to improved cessation rates by allowing physicians to select the most effective and beneficial anti-addiction medications for individuals, based, at least in part, on genetic factors that predispose them to treatment success or failure rather than on a trial and error basis. ​