| One-Minute Clinician

Pharmacogenetics Testing for Safer Prescribing

Pharmacogenetic testing is a new idea and a new science that has been attached to chronic pain prescribing, but it’s important to note that it may not be appropriate for every patient in your practice. As a prescriber, you have to be the one to make that differentiation.

Examples of patients you might recommend for pharmacogenomic testing on could include someone who describes sedation issues, eg “everything makes me sleepy.” That could indicate that they’re an ultra-rapid opioid metabolizer. On the flip side, the patient might tell you that “Just nothing works. That medication did not work at any dose.” That might key you to do this testing and find that they could be a poor metabolizer.

Ultimately both of those things are very important. Ultra-rapid metabolizers can truly have fatal outcomes with some medications. So as a prescriber, pharmacogenomic testing can help drive and guide your treatment decisions for harder-to-treat patients.