Pharmacogenetic Testing for End-of-Life Pain Management Leading to Better Prescribing in General

ViaQuest, a home health and hospice care company, is trying something new. Pharmacogenetics studies the variability in how patients respond to medications. Through this analysis, doctors may change a patient’s dose or prescribe a different drug entirely. Also taken into account are drug-drug interactions. ViaQuest uses the results of pharmacogenetic testing to determine the efficacy of standard pain management medications, often for patients who are unable to communicate their level of pain.

Through pharmacogenetic testing, and learning how an individual body metabolizes a drug, ViaQuest found that half of the patients tested needed changes to their medication plans. Expansion plans for this type of testing include information tracking about medication dosages, costs, and lab testing. Beyond pain management, pharmacogenetic testing may potentially alter who is prescribed what medication. If certain drugs cannot be metabolized by certain people, why should they take it?

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