If you’ve ever had a loved one suffer from an adverse drug reaction, you’ll understand this post.


Clay Bullard, President
PGx Medical

It is estimated that 6.7% of hospitalized patients have a serious adverse drug reaction with a fatality rate of 0.32%. These statistics do not include the number of ADRs that occur in ambulatory settings.  Also, it is estimated that over 350,000 ADRs occur in U.S. nursing homes each year. ~FDA.gov

ADRs are one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in health care.  So what can we do to stop this ever-growing problem?  Or at least slow it down.

“One of the first areas we feel is the most important is education. Educating providers and patients on the tools and resources available to help reduce ADRs is crucial,” said Clay Bullard, President of PGx Medical.

Clay, who is the president and founder of PGx Medical, travels around the country educating healthcare professionals on pharmacogenetics testing.  His story is personal and started several years ago when his wife, in her early 30’s at the time, was diagnosed with an aggressive, degenerative form of Rheumatoid Arthritis.   Most all of the physicians they consulted were not providing much hope or direction for treatment, other than the standard “Let’s try this and see what happens”.  As the father of two young daughters and a third one on the way, his response to the “trial and error” approach was not a calm one. “It is difficult to watch a love one suffer, not to mention the potential financial costs and loss of valuable time that this approach entails,” said Bullard.

During the process of working with physicians who had a different approach and plan, Clay was introduced to the science of Pharmacogenetics.  The idea of avoiding “trial and error” and having a “personalized treatment plan” for pharmaceutical usage captivated him and started his professional journey with what is now, PGx Medical.

PGx Medical is a leader in the pharmacogenetics industry and focuses on the field of aging services.  Studies show people age 65 and older make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, but account for 34 percent of all prescription medication use and 30 percent of all over-the-counter medication use.  Among older adults, adverse reactions due to medication can be very serious, including falls, depression, confusion, hallucinations and malnutrition.  ADRs increases exponentially after a patient is on 4 or more medications.

So why does a drug work for one person, and won’t work for someone else?  
Pharmacogenetics is the study of inherited genetic differences in metabolic pathways which can affect individual responses to drugs, both in terms of therapeutic effect as well as adverse effects.

Individual patient response to medications is influenced by genetic variation in the enzymes responsible for drug metabolism as well as targeted receptors and transporters.

The majority of drugs enter the body and have to be metabolized before giving good therapy.  Knowing what genetic variants are present or not, leads to more effective medication prescribing.

When a provider prescribes a medication, they take a lot of outside factors into account, but they don’t really know your unique genetic makeup.  Pharmacogenetics is a simple swab of the cheek and will provide this important information to help make more informed decisions.

If you or a loved one is on multiple medications, ask your physician about pharmacogenetics testing.  Or contact PGx Medical at (405) 509-5112 or info@pgxmed.com to request more information.

source:  FDA.gov, medscape.com