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Genetic testing for medicines means that a person has tests to see if a certain medicine might work well for them and is safe for them to take. This is called pharmacogenomics testing.
These tests look at how your genes affect how you respond to a medicine. Genes hold information that parents pass to their children, such as hair and eye colour.
Genes can have variations that affect how a medicine works. Your genes could be the reason that a medicine helps you but doesn't help another person.
Doctors use these tests to help them decide whether to prescribe a medicine. These tests can show if a medicine will work well for you. Or they could show that you might have a bad reaction to a medicine.
Sometimes these tests help doctors decide how much of a medicine you should take. Some people may need a larger or smaller dose, based on the results of their tests.
Doctors don't use these tests for all medicines. They use them before prescribing certain medicines for some conditions. For example, doctors often use them for cancer and cystic fibrosis. They also use them for HIV and gout. In certain cases, they may use them for some mental health conditions.
The tests are done with blood or saliva. Or they may be done as a cheek swab. Your doctor will look at the results and decide whether to prescribe a certain medicine for you.
Current as of: April 4, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Andrew Littlefield PhD - Psychology, Behavioral Health & Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine & Donald Sproule MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
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