Why Don't My Prescriptions Work for Me? Genetic Testing May Be the Answer

The devil is the details as they say, and when it comes to understanding why prescription drug medication might not be working for us, those details may well be found hidden in our DNA coding. Doctors are increasingly looking to genetics as an explanation for why some people do not respond, or stop responding to the prescription’s effects. Indeed, to continue to find relief, many patients have to experiment with complicated drug cocktails to ensure the right mix of prescription medication.

The Role Genetics Plays in Your Health

It is estimated that upwards of nearly half of all medication recipients seeking succor from chronic depression do not respond to the medications that are most frequently prescribed to sufferers. Even though half do not receive any benefits from the prescription, and yet they still continue to take pills in the hopes of relieving their condition.

Recent research however, indicates that the genetic makeup of a patient may have a profound bearing on the way they relate to a particular medication. In fact, genetic factors bear substantial force when it comes to determining whether a patient is a good candidate for that particular drug. The body’s genes have the task of developing the enzymes that your body uses to break down the drugs in your system, thus allowing for the beneficial properties of the drug to take effect. Differences in these enzymes influence how a drug is metabolized and how long it remains in your system. Clearly, if the drug is trying to get out of your system faster than a moviegoer is trying to flee the theater of a poorly produced film, then it will not be sticking around to provide the full range of help had it remained in your system for any longer length of time.

As an example, the vast majority of common pain medication require the activation of a particular enzyme, known as CYP2D6 to perform effectively. That being said however, approximately half of the patients out there have genes that alter the way CYP2D6 functions thereby consigning many pain medications to the rubbish heap in terms of providing effective treatment options. As such, genetic testing for this condition will allow physicians an opportunity to tailor medication dosage regimens in order to compensate for these genetic predispositions.

Without knowledge of a patient’s particular genetic code, doctors are forced to lead their patients through a lengthy trial and error period while multiple cocktails and options are tried, weighed, and balanced against possible benefits and potential side effects.

Relief for Patients who Have Long Lost Hope

There is nothing worse for a patient undergoing anxiety, pain, or depression than consistently taking medication, but with little outside signs of effectiveness. Convinced that they are the problem, it is easy to sink into a cycle of depression that further inhibits treatment. With the work that researchers are conducting on the importance of genetics in the efficacy of prescription medication, patients have a new arrow in their quiver in the battle against pain and discomfort.

Genetic testing is a new technology that has helped many people who have been given the wrong meds time and time again. Genetic testing allows doctors to run a test to see how your body metabolizes specific types of drugs. Everyone metabolizes different drugs at a rate of fast, medium, or slow. Now here comes the tricky part – Not only is there different rates of metabolism, your body most likely doesn’t metabolize all drugs at the same rate. You may metabolize antidepressants fast and antibiotics slow. Understanding your genetic makeup up allows doctors to get you the right medication the first time. No more waiting weeks or months to see if your meds will level you out. Genetic testing will allow a doctor to get you the right med AND the right dosage the first time.
If you have more questions about genetic testing, comment below or visit our Genetic Testing page

Michelle Amerman
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