Pharmacogenomics in Nursing Homes
Doug Jones • May 11, 2022
What is pharmacogenomics?
Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genetic variations can affect a person's response to drugs, and whether they’ll experience adverse side effects or receive the proper therapeutic benefit from treatment. The goal of pharmacogenomics is to develop safe and effective treatment regimens that are tailored to individual patients based on their unique genetic makeup.
For example, some people have a variant that causes them to metabolize certain drugs slower than others, which means these patients may need lower drug doses or alternative medicines altogether; otherwise, they might experience severe adverse reactions.
The many benefits of pharmacogenomics are crucial for improving clinical outcomes, enhancing patient safety, and reducing healthcare costs due to fewer adverse drug events and hospitalizations. It also has the potential to encourage medication adherence by reducing incidences of unpleasant side effects that cause patients to stop taking their medications as directed.
How does pharmacogenomics impact long-term care?
Given the likelihood of adverse drug reactions and the associated economic costs, it makes sense for long-term care facilities to implement a pharmacogenomics program. Here’s more:
Pharmacogenomics examines an individual’s genes to gain a better understanding of their response to particular medications and thereby reducing the potential for negative drug-gene interactions. Certain medications shouldn’t be taken together because they can interact in harmful ways. Similarly, some medications can interact with a patient’s genetic makeup in harmful ways; the challenge is that some people have genetic variations that make them more susceptible to having a bad reaction to particular drugs—but their doctors can’t know this without testing for those variations first.
Pharmacogenomics reduces overall medication costs: Pharmacogenomic results give patients the correct medication and dosage the first time around, and thus lower incidences of adverse drugs effects and unnecessary, costly payments for multiple trial-and-error prescriptions.
Pharmacogenomics improves resident outcomes: When you have a better understanding of how your body reacts to certain medications, it gives you more confidence that your physician is providing you with the best possible treatment.
Pharmacogenomics reduces the need for repeated medication adjustments: Unfortunately, many healthcare systems don’t have the ability to provide real-time data for each patient and their response to certain medications. As a result, practitioners often waste precious time with multiple adjustment cycles before finding the right combination of drugs and drug dosage for their patients with complex conditions like depression, pain, and cardiovascular disease.
Pharmacogenomics has enormous potential to improve medication safety in long-term care settings.
Pharmacogenomic testing can help nurses improve medication safety in long-term care settings. The added ability to identify and treat patients for specific genetic variations will allow nurses to manage medications much more effectively, thus reducing the risk of adverse drug effects and hospitalizations. In addition, pharmacogenomics may also reduce pharmacy costs by allowing nurses to prescribe medications that are highly effective with fewer instances of unnecessary dosing.
About BASE10 Genetics
Located in Chicago, BASE10 is a healthcare software technology company whose platform creates turnkey disease management programs that can be deployed at scale for nursing home operators, pharmacies, payors, and self-funded employers.
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