Are the medications you’re taking the right ones for you?

alt = "pharmacogenetics"Studies show 20 percent of Americans are on at least five prescription medications.  How would you know if they are giving you therapy – or they are doing more harm than good?

Some medications have the “placebo” effect.  A placebo is anything that seems to be a “real” medical treatment — but isn’t. It could be a pill, a shot, or some other type of “fake” treatment.  Many people are on medications their body doesn’t even have the ability to metabolize.  So in other words, it has the “placebo effect” because they are receiving no therapy from this drug and it could be costly.  Or worse, you could be on a medication that is not right for your genetic make-up, or may interact with another medication you are taking.  This can cause an adverse drug reaction.  Unfortunately, ADRs are one of the leading cause of death in the U.S. with over 120,000 people dying each year.

Now there is a simple cheek swab that can help identify how your genes affect your bodies response to medications.  Pharmacogenetic tests look for changes or variants in your genes that may determine whether a medication is effective for you or whether you may have side effects to a specific medication.

Some indications for use are:

  • People who have a diagnosis of depression or bipolar disorder
  • Current medication regimen includes use of antipsychotic medication
  • Current medication regimen has five or more medications
  • Behaviors – Aggressive or disruptive behaviors unresolved by current medication regimen
  • Uncontrolled pain
  • History of falls
  • Re-hospitalization

Studies have shown that incorporating genetic factors into the medication prescribing process can improve efficacy and reduce adverse drug effects.

For more information on implementing pharmacogenetics into your LTC community, or to schedule a free educational webinar on pharmacogenetics, contact PGx Medical at or 405-509-5112.