Pain medication efficacy improves with genetic testing


Physicians currently use a trial-and-error system for finding the right medications and dosage levels for treating patients with pain. The response in humans to opioids greatly varies, with some patients needing 40 times the amount than what is satisfactory for another.

Physicians Choice Laboratory Services’ (PCLS) accurate genetic testing can determine individual risks and dosage requirements. By identifying these genetic risks, the most effective pain medication for an individual patient can be prescribed. A doctor would also be able to improve the efficacy of the medication and decrease the risk of induced overdose, addiction and death.

Measuring opioid levels through blood tests cannot predict pain relief, which leads to the need for genetic testing. There are differences in response to pain and the medications used to relieve it that require properpain management. What works for one patient might not work for the next due to small factors such as weight, age and pain sensitivity.

Genotype-based dose adjustments would suggest a standard dose – two tablets of a medication – for an extensive metabolizer. However, a poor metabolizer might only need one tablet, an intermediate metabolizer might need 1.5 tablets and an ultra metabolizer might need three or more tablets of the same medication to get the identical pain relief. The difference in metabolization also can have an impact on the chances for adverse drug reactions in patients.

All things considered, the benefits of genetic testing before taking pain medication far outweigh the possibility of improper dosages, adverse drug reactions and becoming dependent. PCLS is building healthy communities, and genetic testing is a big part of helping patients live a more complete life now and in the future.

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Christine Marks

VP of Marketing at PCLS
Christine is a marketing professional with 20 years of experience developing strategies that translate into tactical execution and measurement in the consumer goods and medical device industry.