April 5, 2013

New Science Can Personalize Prescription Medication

KXAN.com, an ABC affiliate in Austin, Texas, is reporting on interesting new science that may help decrease a person’s risk of becoming addicted to the prescription medication they are prescribed by doctors. We often hear stories from our clients about the difficulties and circumstances that lead to their opioid addictions. Often the dependencies start as a result of a legitimate need for pain management. Perhaps they have been in an accident or required a major surgery. Or maybe the surgery wasn’t so major, but none-the-less came with a big bottle of pills at the end of it. Because every person metabolizes pain killers differently, it can be hard for physicians to know the exact right amount of pain management a person will need in any given scenario. Now, science is moving closer.

Genotox Labs in Austin is on the cutting edge of what’s called “personalized medicine,” conducting DNA tests to eliminate wasted time and money, and match people up with the right prescription the first time. “This type of testing will allow physicians, when they encounter a patient, to have a window that will never change to how they metabolize medications, because your genes are your genes,” said Dr. Matt McCarty of Genotox Labs. The result is better care, more efficient care, for pain management, heart health, and cancer treatment, without the negative side effects, or risk of drug abuse.

I’m not sure I can agree that the risk of drug abuse would go away for every person, but I’ve no doubt this could help. After all, sometimes the person who had been prescribed too many pills after, say a root canal, is not the individual who ends up ingesting the extra pills. If they are sitting on a kitchen counter or innocently perched on a self in the bathroom’s medicine cabinet, they are a potential risk for anyone in the house.


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