Drugs are substances used to treat, alleviate or prevent a disease, its symptoms or side effects. Throughout our lives we take different drugs to treat the same pathology, sometimes because of age and sometimes because they are not having the desired effect. Discovering why some drugs make us feel unwell can be the key to prescribing a more effective treatment.
The genomic science that studies the effect of an individual’s genetic variability on their response to certain drugs is called pharmacogenetics. In other words, it studies how different people respond to the same drug, according to their genetic alterations.
Knowing a person’s genetic variability will help prevent toxicity and the therapeutic ineffectiveness of a pharmacological treatment. Although all drugs have side effects, it is not necessary to suffer from them. If a drug is making us feel unwell, it may be due to a genetic variability that intensifies the toxicity of the drug or causes the body not to interact correctly with the drug.
Being aware that each person is genetically different, we can get closer to personalized medicine if we understand the genetic information that defines us. In this way, a better therapeutic response can be obtained, and the fatalities caused by adverse drug reactions or interactions in polymedication can be reduced.
Drug compatibility plays a very important role in this process. Having this information will allow you to know which is the best treatment, as it will show you which drug will produce fewer side effects in your body or which is the right dosage for you in order to obtain the maximum effectiveness of the treatment.
But how can we obtain this information? By performing a DNA test in which pharmacological compatibility is analyzed. In the genetic analysis, two aspects are studied: drug metabolization and drug interaction with the organism.
Thanks to this information, it is possible to know whether a person metabolizes a drug ultra-fast, fast, intermediate or slow, i.e. whether the drug spends more or less time than is necessary in the body to perform its function. So, if a person metabolizes a drug ultra-fast, they will need a higher dose of the drug in order to circulate more of it in the bloodstream.
Moreover, with a genetic test it is possible to know the interaction of the drug with the organism. Pharmacological interaction is the modification of the effect of a drug when combined with another one. It can increase the effect (synergistic type) or decrease it (antagonistic type). That is, it allows us to know whether the drug is interacting adequately or, on the contrary, is producing undesirable side effects.
When taking medication for a chronic disease, it is essential to know these aspects. Currently, many people in the world have to take the same drug day in and day out. However, many of them are experiencing side effects that they should not or are not noticing significant improvements.
With the advances in medicine, individual genetic variations involved in drug metabolization, and drug interactions can be understood. In addition, it is possible to identify the most effective drugs, the most appropriate dosage and optimal drug concentrations, avoiding undesirable side effects and providing an explanation for the fact that some drugs make us feel unwell.