Pharmacogenomics – DNA-based prescribing for better results


There is no ‘one size fits all’ for medications. For some patients, certain drugs can do wonders to treat conditions, whereas for others those drugs might not be so effective.

Pharmacogenomics is the study of prescribing medications that are tailor-made to an individual’s genetic make-up – enabling patients to benefit from effective treatments.

The Royal College of Physicians together with the British Pharmacological Society is putting in a plan to help make pharmacogenomics testing more widely available for patients. This will lead to better results and treat a wider range of medical problems.

At Wessex GP, we offer pharmacogenomics testing to patients who request it.

What is Pharmacogenomics?

Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genes affect a person’s response to drugs. As the name suggests, it is a combination of pharmacology and genomics. It has been around for decades – but recently we have seen a rise in precision (personalised) prescribing due to the advances in genetics and a better understanding of the human body.

Researchers are still learning about how our genes affect how we respond to certain treatments, with new approaches undergoing clinical trials. One big positive of the testing is that it only needs to be done once, because your genes hardly change throughout your lifetime.

Despite the growing awareness and recognition of the potential benefits, tests aren’t widely available. Currently, for NHS patients, it is being used for treating some cancers. In the future, it will be used to develop tailored drugs to treat a wide range of health problems, including Alzheimer disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease and asthma.

Who benefits most from Pharmacogenomics testing?

Patients with comorbid (co-existing) conditions would benefit as additional diagnosis could complicate treatments – especially as they are often prescribed multiple medications for different symptoms.

Patients that have previously experienced side effects from medications, or are concerned about developing side effects would also benefit from testing. Additionally, if you are going to be taking a drug that has varying results, a pharmacogenomics test will be useful.

The main benefits for patients are:

  • Avoiding treatments that will not work for you
  • Fewer side effects from treatments and a safer experience
  • Only prescribing what you need – resulting in less appointments

One study on the effectiveness of psycho pharmacogenetic testing and major depressive disorder found that it led to individuals being almost twice as likely to achieve remission.

Availability now

Pharmacogenomics testing is available privately for patients at Wessex GP. Blood testing is carried out by The Doctor’s Laboratory TDL and arranged through our service.

The results will be available within 48 hours, but sometimes sooner, and will be emailed to you. A doctor will email you or ring you to discuss the results.

If you wish to be referred or to discuss this further please make an appointment with Dr Middle at Wessex Private GP.