Pharmacogenetic Testing

In prescription drug monitoring, it’s not uncommon for patients to have undesired reactions to their medications. One explanation could be related to their genetic makeup. Sterling Healthcare Services offers genetic testing as an alternate resource for providers to understand why a patient might be unresponsive to a particular treatment plan.

How Genetic Testing Works

Genetic testing can identify medication sensitivities and potential interactions by examining how those drugs interact with a patient’s genes. Instead of measuring drug levels, genetic testing identifies protein abnormalities that can affect a patient’s ability to metabolize medication at a normal rate.

The testing process is simple. DNA is extracted from a blood sample or buccal swab and tested at the lab to determine how the patient’s proteins interact with the prescribed medications. Proteins that are poor metabolizers, for example, would take a longer period of time to break down a drug, which means a patient could be accumulating the drug at toxic levels and may be at risk of an overdose. Meanwhile, ultra-rapid metabolizers would break down drugs at such a fast rate that the medication’s effectiveness is severely weakened or compromised.

The Impact of Genetic Testing in Prescription Drug Monitoring

Because the drugs used to treat chronic pain often carry a high street value, a physician is right to be suspicious when a patient tests negative for a prescribed medication. However, diversion isn’t the only explanation. Genetic testing can provide valuable information about a patient’s ability to metabolize drugs, which can help physicians prescribe the right drug at the right dose.

Genetic testing won’t tell you if a patient is following a treatment plan as prescribed, but it does offer unique insight on the clinical impact of a drug based on a person’s genetic makeup. 

For more information about genetic testing in prescription drug monitoring, contact Sterling at