In this blog I discuss the importance of pharmacogenetics, and how a Bentley Baths walk-in bathtub with Medical Hydrotherapy® and Rejuvaderm Micro-Oxygenation™ systems is an important element of any pharmacologically based pain management plan.
Pharmacogenetics is the study of inherited genetic differences in drug metabolic pathways which can affect individual responses to drugs. The term pharmacogenetics is often used interchangeably with the term pharmacogenomics, which also investigates the role of acquired and inherited genetic differences in relation to drug response and drug behavior through a systematic examination of genes, gene products, and inter- and intra-individual variation in gene expression and function.
It’s All In The Name
Much of current clinical interest involves variation in genes of drug metabolism, with a particular emphasis on improving drug safety. Driving this trend are the more than 100,000 deaths and 2.2 million serious events caused by adverse drug reactions (ADRs) in the US each year. ADRs are responsible for more than five percent of hospital admissions in the US and Europe, lead to the withdrawal of the same percentage of new medicines, and cost society an extraordinary amount of pain and suffering. Any other business would go bankrupt with such a high failure rate, but until now there’s really not been any alternative.
But scientists and doctors are now using new technology to improve drug efficacy. For example, 30 percent or more of depressed patients are not helped by antidepressants. In psychopharmacological therapy, a patient must be on a drug for at least two weeks before the effects can be fully examined and evaluated. For a patient in that 30 percent, this could mean months of trying medications to find an antidote to their pain. Doesn’t it make more sense to determine that patient’s genetic sensitivity to a variety of antidepressants before administering them in a “wait-and-see” sort of way?
Another example is the drug Plavix, which blocks platelet reception and is the second best selling prescription drug in the world, even though patients have a variety of responses, not all of them good. GWAS studies have linked a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the gene CYP2C19 to those who cannot normally metabolize Plavix, which is often given to patients after receiving a stent in the coronary artery to prevent clotting.
Stent clots almost always result in heart attack or sudden death, and fortunately it only occurs in one or two percent of the population. Unfortunately, that small percentage who do clot consists of those with the CYP2C19 SNP. Pharmacogenetic testing has applied this finding in at least two hospitals, Scripps and Vanderbilt University, where patients who are candidates for heart stents are pre-screened for the CYP2C19 variants before Plavix is administered.
Pharmacogenetics is also of rising concern in clinical oncology, because the therapeutic window of most anticancer drugs is narrow and patients with impaired ability to detoxify drugs can undergo life-threatening toxicities if too much is administered within a short period of time. The decision to use pharmacogenetic techniques is, of course, influenced by the relative costs of genotyping technologies and the cost of providing a treatment to a patient with an incompatible genotype. But there has been a dramatic increase in the amount of genomic information that is available for even casual testing, and such testing can easily provide the necessary data for comprehensive studies of individual genes and even broad investigation of genome-wide variation.
Where Do We Go From Here?
The ease of accessibility to genotype information through peripheral blood or saliva sampling and advances in molecular techniques has increased the feasibility of DNA collection and genotyping not only in large-scale clinical trials; it works for individuals searching for ways to manage their own chronic pain conditions, as well. If personalized medicine is widely adopted and used, then medical trials will become more efficient because researchers will know much more about exactly what they’re searching for and also for whom they’re searching. This will lower the societal and individual costs of adverse drug side effects and the prescription of drugs that have been proven ineffective in certain genotypes. Results can be presented showing which drugs the body is capable of breaking down normally versus the drugs those that may be a problem, either because the drug is metabolized too quickly or too slowly. The best part is that this test only needs to be done once, yet it can provide so much valuable information, including a summary of an individual’s genetic polymorphisms that could help both in an emergency situation and also on an ongoing pain management basis.
Pharmacogenetics is set to have a huge impact on society, influencing the treatment of both common and rare diseases. Check with your own doctors about the availability of such testing for yourself and your loved ones. It may save your lives someday.
Medical Hydrotherapy®, Rejuvaderm Micro-Oxygenation™, and Pharmacogenetics
Hydrotherapy is one of history’s most popular medical treatments to provide relief from common ailments like arthritis, diabetes, lower back pain, stress etc., and as such it clearly complements pharmacogenetic therapy for all sorts of conditions including pain management. In addition, the unique combination of water and temperature/pressure settings available via our proprietary Medical Hydrotherapy® and Rejuvaderm Micro-Oxygenation® systems, can create whole body vibrations that aid in the absorption of critical nutrients and help you relax, a crucial element of any pain management regime.
At Bentley Baths we are justifiably proud of our products, including Whole Body Vibration Therapy and our proprietary aging-in-place systems such as Medical Hydrotherapy® and Rejuvaderm Micro-Oxygenation™. If you need help staying in your own home and the design and layout of your bathroom is what’s preventing you from doing that, doesn’t it make sense to purchase and install that walk-in bathtub now?
For more information specifically about pharmacogenetics, check out https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/primer/genomicresearch/pharmacogenomics
For more information about this and all of our other products, please don’t hesitate to call us at 303-388-8887 or email me personally at George@BentleyBaths.com.
Stay tuned for the next installment of the Bentley Baths blog, in which I continue the discussion of cutting-edge techniques that are used to help rejuvenate both body and mind as we age.