Pharmacy Consultants Case Study on 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 test reports, however, what I am finding is the small changes make the biggest impact. I now adjust dosages based on the resident/patient’s metabolic 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 #1 – [88 year old female Alzheimer patient that was on Aricept, Namenda and Zyprexa because she was frequently falling]. After getting the pharmacogenetics (PGx) test report, we determined she needed a few med changes based upon her genetic profile. There were certain mutations within her system that were not allowing the medication to provide therapy.  With the physician’s approval, we immediately transitioned her to a different drug, Geodon. She responded very well to this medication.  Now, we have even been able to reduce her dosage of Geodon and she has not fallen since.  This is a great outcome as she is on a lower dosage of medication than she was prior to us using the pharmacogenetics test results.

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 and help her avoid falls, 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 as a result of avoiding possible injuries due to her falls.

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 to residents covered by 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, or 405-509-5112.