Customised DNA-based prescriptions to avert drug reactions
Oct 24, 2008 - 4:42:04 PM

Washington, Oct 24 - Customised DNA-based prescriptions could help avert adverse drug reactions, a new research has found.

Warfarin, the most widely prescribed anti-coagulant, heads the list of problem drugs.

Evgeny Krynetskiy, associate professor and director of Jayne Haines Centre for Pharmacogenomics and Drug Safety of Temple University, has focused his research on that drug.

'Prescribing this medicine is like trial and error in finding the right dosage that works best for you,' says Krynetskiy. 'Five milligrams is a typical dose, but a little less or a little more could have dramatic consequences or no benefit at all.'

Accordingly, the medical community is learning how to use genetic information to tailor drug regimens for patients, and so are medical students, by genotyping themselves. All 153 medicos will extract their own DNA through collected saliva samples to see how they would react to the anti-tuberculosis drug Isoniazid.

Doctors call this optimal dosage the therapeutic window, and Krynetskiy is trying to find it through pharmacogenomics, the study of a person's response to drugs based on their genetic makeup, said a Temple University release.

It's a collaboration that crosses campuses and includes Krynetskiy and fellow clinical faculty at the School of Pharmacy, clinicians at Temple University Hospital and Jeannes Hospital.

Researchers are studying why people process the same drug differently. In this case, they are trying to find the correlation between genotypes, or a person's inner code of DNA, and the correct dosage of Warfarin.

By collecting saliva samples and extracting DNA from 77 participants already on the drug, the researchers can look for variances, genetic clues, which make people metabolise the same drug in very different ways.

That would allow doctors to prescribe the correct dosage of Warfarin and decrease the risk of adverse drug reactions: Too low a dose can increase the risk of dangerous blood clots, while too large can cause life-threatening bleeding.

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