A Pharmacy Consultant Case Study on the Utilization of Pharmacogenetics Testing 

Garrett Huxall, Pharm.D, CGP, FASCP
Executive Director, PharmCareOK

As a pharmacy consultant and nursing home owner, understanding medications and their side effects is critical to my patient care. I have been utilizing pharmacogenetics testing and it   allows me to recommend proper medication therapy more quickly and accurately.  The tool from PGx Medical replaces the “trial and error” process consultants cannot afford in a nursing home setting.

I have countless success stories due to pharmacogenetics (PGx) test report, however, what I am finding is the small changes make the biggest impact. I now adjust dosages based on the resident/patient’s PGx test report. Furthermore, I now select medications that can be properly metabolized, where in the past I would have just gone to the next drug and hoped for a better outcome.

Case Study #3 – [Male LTC resident]. This patient was only on Allopurinol and was then prescribed Lipitor and had a reaction. They thought his reaction was more of a psychotic reaction so they prescribed him Geodon. The patient had a severe reaction and tried to strangle his father. He was then admitted to a Psych Hospital and we decided to do a pharmacogenetics test to determine if his body could even metabolize the medications. By the enzymes we found, the Geodon or any of the new atypical drugs weren’t going to work for him. Se we put him on Thorazine and got him calmed down – then we started reducing the Thorazine. Now the patient is back on Allopurinol for gout and that is the only prescription medication he is taking. Great outcome!

Previously, without the testing results to guide us, this change may have taken several different methods and a longer time frame to achieve results. It was very reassuring and validating to me that we were able to intervene with this resident on a much quicker basis, which is a benefit to the clinical team and the medical director.

In this case, the small change with guidance from the test results allowed for a rapid intervention that may have taken months. The small changes can have tremendous benefits to all parties involved. The test results came back in a matter of a day or two and we were able to save thousands of future medicare dollars.

Educating the clinical team and medical directors at the facility on the value this tool provides is crucial, as there is no out of pocket costs for residents with medicare. It’s important to reassure residents and family members that the medications they are taking are the most appropriate and able to provide proper therapy. A less medicated, cognizant, mobile resident allows for the home to be more efficient and profitable.

For more information on pharmacogenetics testing, contact PGx Medical at info@pgxmed.com or 405-509-5112