Why genetic testing may be the future for better pain relief3 years ago | Genomics
By pH health care professionals
A man was in an auto accident that left his right leg shattered. Over the next 4+ years, he faced relentless leg and back pain. Despite taking strong pain killers and increasing the dosages, his pain was still bad enough to rate it a 10 on a 10-point scale. It got to the point where the dosage could only be increased so much, and trying various other medications proved futile.
That’s when doctors suggested genetic testing. What they found changed everything.
Turns out, this man had a gene that caused him to metabolize his pain medication extremely fast. His meds were going through his system way too quickly to offer much relief. So his doctors changed the type of medication, and within about three visits, the man’s pain score dropped from a 10 to a 4, Medscape reported.
But was this case just an anomaly?
They researched it further. 70 pain patients (mean age: 54), with an average pain score of 8.6, underwent genetic testing. The researchers found that when pain medications were adjusted according to the patients' genetic profile, the pain scores went down by an average of 55 percent, Medscape reported.
One of the researchers, Dr. Ramesh Singa, gave Medscape another example of how genetic testing can improve treatment decisions for patients. He had one particular patient who had chronic pain and end-stage renal disease. She was about to get a kidney transplant. But genetic testing showed she would not react to immunosuppressive drugs and would reject the new kidney, so she didn’t go through with it. A different patient had a kidney transplant and rejected the organ, and after genetic testing, it was retroactively found that she had the same genetic profile as the first patient.
Is this the future of more personalized medicine?
Using genetic testing to find out how you may react to certain medications, or which treatment options would be best for you, is still new. More research is still needed. However, what health care professionals are seeing is that knowing your genetics can help you be proactive.
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