GLEN ALLEN, Va., March 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — With limited or no extracurricular activities for long periods of time, isolation, and school closings over the past two years, American teens and young adults are being diagnosed with an unprecedented number of mental health illnesses both prior to and amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Choosing the right medication to treat these conditions can be difficult as every person’s body and genetic make-up is different. Because the process of finding the right drug can be painful, frustrating, and time consuming, doctors need tools to assist in determining which medications and dosages are best to handle psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, and ADHD as well as other medical conditions. Finding the right drug can also be dangerous as nearly five percent of deaths in the U.S. are due to drug toxicities.
GENETWORx Laboratories identified this gap in healthcare services back in 2013 and began bridging that gap with pharmacogenetic or PGx testing that assists doctors in finding the right medications and right dosage the first time based on a patient’s DNA.
Also called “personalized medicine,” PGx testing is now in the spotlight with a bill recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives called the Right Drug Right Dose Now Act which seeks to accelerate education and use of pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing to help prevent adverse drug reactions and to facilitate the integration of drug response-related genomic information into patient care.
“Without knowing which medication will be the optimal choice for a given patient, it can be trial and error for a physician—they pick a medication based on their past experience or drug prescribing information in the hope that the patient’s body responds effectively to it. Personalized medicine using PGx testing in conjunction with other diagnostic tools takes much of the guesswork out of medication effectiveness,” said Dr. Stacey Blankenship, PharmD., of GENETWORx Laboratories.
According to Dr. Blankenship, knowing a person’s genetic makeup through PGx testing helps identify drugs that the body can breakdown and metabolize. The metabolism of a drug can have important consequences on its therapeutic effect or its toxicity. For instance, whether the drug will be metabolized by the body too quickly or too slowly to be effective,” she said.
According to a recent National Institutes of Health study, pharmacogenetic testing “has the potential to decrease morbidity, decrease treatment-emergent side effects, improve treatment response, decrease inpatient admissions and readmissions due to lack of efficacy or side effects, and cost of care for the patient and his or her family.”
PGx testing is non-invasive utilizing a simple swab of the patient’s cheek. It can be utilized by any patient who takes medication for both psychiatric and medical illnesses. Physicians are utilizing GENETWORx PGx testing to inform their medication decisions for patients who are scheduled for surgery, for geriatric patients on multiple medications in assisted living facilities, and for many other medical illnesses as well as for behavioral health diagnoses. Further, Medicare may cover the test for many conditions as do numerous private insurers.
“It’s really an extraordinary tool that gives the provider and the patient additional confidence that the right medication has been selected the first time,” said Blankenship.
For more information on PGx testing, ask your doctor. Providers or patients can also click here or call 855-488-2618.
GENETWORx is a fully integrated CAP accredited laboratory which is certified according to the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) for high complexity molecular testing. The company is a full molecular and clinical diagnostics laboratory with an expansive test menu including infectious disease and genetic testing. GENETWORx offers PCR and antigen COVID-19 testing for organizations and individuals and has performed over 8.5 million COVID-19 tests since the pandemic first began with turnaround times among the lowest in the nation. The laboratory also offers an all-in-one combination influenza/COVID-19/RSV test, a PCR saliva test, and antibody testing. GENETWORx drive-up COVID-19 testing is also available through TestNowandGo locations in New York City, Virginia, Phoenix, Boston and Philadelphia. GENETWORx provides a full range of pathogen testing to healthcare facilities nationwide. Please visit Genetworx.com for further information and follow us on Linked In.
For media interviews contact: Terri C. Malenfant at [email protected].
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