Which Pill to Pop? – Too many in Shop!
“I have a headache”
“Try Disprin! It’s the best thing ever.”
“No! No! Paracetamol is better!”
“But is it a migraine headache – then only Migranil will work!”
“I have had migraine problem for 10 years now! – Take Vasograin ! BEST. PILL. EVER!
Yes, the scenario above is very common! A hectic schedule, little water in our daily diet, less greens /no fresh veggies, irregular exercise – all of it gets you running to the medicine cabinet. Brightly coloured – tiny little tablets of joy! There is only one goal we have in mind – immediate relief and freedom from the mind numbing pain. Very few of us get into the technicality of how medication works, why different people respond to different medicines, why some medicines work faster, why do some cause extreme side effects….
There is a whole branch of science dedicated to the study of these “tiny pills of joy” very respectably called “Pharmacogenomics”. Scientists all over the world work relentlessly on this subject to create better and more apt medicine. They study the science behind it, perform rigorous clinical trials with these drugs before they are made available to us. This field is based on our genetic makeup /DNA code which further affects our drug response and this varies across populations. So, ideally the same medication with the same dosage elicits a different response from different groups of people.
Pharmacogenomics answers the query – “why does one drug not suit all?”
One may wonder if they can fine tune to each tablet to suit the needs of a small percent of the growing human population. Ideally then, even we should figure out or be aware of which medicine would work best for us – with least side effects and immediate relief! What are some common factors that you could possibly watch out for …..
We all look for one thing while going to the doctor or to the pharmacy. Our hectic lifestyle allows very little room for research for anything other than the query below –
Are my symptoms going to go away ? Will I have any side effects ?
While that is a very good question, it helps one very little in the longer run. Sometimes, to get rid of the pain, to get back to work, to be able to sleep better – we may end up choosing a tablet that could potentially be harmful. A little a bit of awareness and information can guide us towards a lower dosage or a different drug altogether. So, what key points* are we looking for?
- Individual response to a specific drug – Based on DNA sequence, one might or might not respond to a drug. This can be analyzed via pharmacogenomic testing. For eg., the antidiabetic drug GlycoMet (Metformin Hydrochloride) helps in lowering blood sugar levels for “good responders” to a far greater extent, when compared with “poor responders”.
- Metabolism rate, drug clearance and risk for toxicity (includes contraindications) – There are important genetic variations which alter enzyme (catalyst) activity in the body. These enzymes are major determinants of drug metabolism, rate of clearance and potential accumulation/build-up in the body. If an individual has a genetic marker which results in lowered enzyme and reaction, he/she ( a “poor metabolizer”) might be at risk for drug-induced toxicity, due to excessive build-up of the drug compound. This can be a grave concern for physicians. A reduced dose of the same drug, or a different drug altogether, might be the plan of action, in such cases.
- Chemotherapy efficacy – Also known as somatic mutation profiling, pharmacogenomics includes a valuable method for predicting the chances of survival (cancer prognosis) in patients administered with chemotherapeutic drugs. This test detects the presence/absence of local mutations in the cancer tissue, which may cause a lack of response to the drug compound, known as drug resistance.
*(The parameters mentioned here, are analyzed in accordance with guidelines that have been approved by the FDA, for pharmacogenomic reporting. The clinical relevance of each marker is backed with scientific literature.)
Now, while factoring in these bits – one comes to the next big question. If you are now genuinely curious and want to know more about drug efficacy, your next pressing worry/query will be –
Where do I get this information from?
That’s where we come into play! Mapmygenome is soon about to unleash a very unique pharmacogenomic test. One that shall help every client in knowing which medication is tailor-made for them. This will help save immense time, money and guarantee good health.
Some individuals are on medication for thyroid, cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes from as early as 30 now – but do they know how effective those tablets are? Are you increasing your dosage but still not getting the desired results. Is it possible you can help your physician know more about you? The answer is “Yes!!!!!!”
Sign up for an exclusive early bird discount on the pharmacogenomic test!
Call us on 18001024595 or drop in a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive more information!
Have specific questions or concerns? Speak to our in house Genetic Counselors!
In case you are still wondering “Why Mapmygenome” …
Founded in 2013, Mapmygenome started as India’s pioneering Personal Genomics Company with a vision to “Touch 100 million lives and save a million lives by 2030.” We are a molecular diagnostics company for people who are proactive about their health. We offer personalized health solutions based on genetic tests that help people to get to know about themselves. By combining genetic profile and health history with counseling, we provide actionable steps for individuals and their physicians towards a healthier life. Our primary focus is on preventive health care through healthy habits. Apart from our regular tests, we also offer diagnostic geen testing. These are usually requested by physicians for molecular confirmation of health conditions such as cancer, neurodegeneration, autism, metabolic disease etc. These tests offer a varied scope of clinical applications – from single-gene sequencing to genome analysis!
About the Author
Dr. Pallavi Jain is part of the Scientific Team at Mapmygenome. She has a Bachelors Degree in Biochemistry with Genetics and a PhD in Molecular Medicine (UK). She recently completed an intensive course in IVF from Origio, Mumbai. She enjoys swimming and reading.