Drug Therapy Gets Personal with Genetic Profiling

Pharmacogenetics Holds Great Promise for Improving Prescribing Practices and Avoiding Adverse Effects

Dana Bartlett, MSN, RN


Am Nurs Journal. 2011;6(5):23-28. 

In This Article

Making the Ideal a Reality

Ideally, drugs would produce only the desired therapeutic action, proper dosages could be calculated easily and precisely, and no adverse effects would occur. Such personalized drug therapy would avoid adverse effects or greatly decrease their incidence. Less time would be wasted finding the optimal dosage, and no time would be wasted giving drugs that would prove ineffective.

No one can predict when the science of pharmacogenetics will turn this ideal into reality. Some progress has been made, and for a handful of drugs, that ideal may soon be realized. But assessing the multitude of genetic variations that affect pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics is highly complex, and drug response involves additional factors that interact with a person's genetic makeup.

Making clinically useful pharmacogenetic testing a reality will involve an enormous amount of time and research. The ideal of always being able to give the right drug in the right dosage to the right patient appears to be many years away.