A person’s response to a medication can be affected by environmental factors such as age or diet, but a large part of the success of a drug therapy is determined by our genetics. Genetic variation can affect how a drug is metabolized, how quickly it gets broken down, and how much is needed. A genetic variant may be the difference between a successful treatment, an ineffective treatment, or an adverse reaction.
Risks of Trial and Error Prescribing
Until an individual knows how he will react to a medication or what dose of a particular drug may be effective, there is risk of serious harm, particularly for persons who are over 65 or may be taking multiple medications. Adverse Drug Reactions (ADE’s) result in over 700,000 emergency department visits each year, and can prolong hospital stays from 1.7 days to 4.6 days.