Logo 24G
0 0,00

Genetics and drugs

Thousands of people die every year in different parts of the world due to the misuse of drugs. However, for several decades, we have learned how drugs interact with our genes (1). Pharmacogenetics is the science in charge of analyzing and applying the knowledge in DNA related to drugs.

How can we use this valuable information?

One of the first drugs to be studied was Warfarin, a widely used anticoagulant. It is a clear example of the usefulness of pharmacogenetics: people who require this drug are recommended to undergo a genetic test before the use of the drug, to understand, based on the test results, the effect that the drug may have and, based on this, modulate the dose or other parameters (2).

Although Warfarin was one of the pioneering drugs, research continued with other drugs such as Clopidogrel, used in cardiology (3) or antidepressants (4). Gradually, more and more drugs are added to the pharmacogenetic tests, and today more than three hundred are known, and the list is growing every year (5, 6).

Economic impact

In addition to the obvious health benefits for patients, pharmacogenetics also has an impact on government coffers. Last year, the US government spent more than $350 billion on prescription drugs (7, 8). Unfortunately, a percentage of the expenditure will have been in vain, as some medicines result in low efficacy or even mortality. In large part, this is because the drug interaction is not the same for everyone; in other words, this is due to genetics, which by definition is unique to each individual.

A great deal of research has already been carried out and proven that the population carries pharmacogenetic utility genes (9, 10). Precisely in this sense, both in the European Union and new platforms have begun to take action in this discipline (11, 12).

Examples here and in the world

Undoubtedly, clinical services worldwide see the need to change protocols (13) concerning pharmacology and genes. There are already countries such as the Netherlands (14) that have been doing so for some years. There, citizens carry their genetic results on their health care based on drugs in which the pharmacogenetic potential is known. When they go to the pharmacy, the dosage of specific medications is modulated based on the genetic analysis. Here in Spain, we also have examples such as the Extremadura strategy (15), a project co-financed by the European Union that will genetically analyze the population to modulate the pharmacological pattern and thus increase the quality of life and life expectancy of the citizens of Extremadura.

Know your predisposition

Your genetic predisposition to drugs can help you stay alive and healthy, and today it is already at your fingertips. Bringing this information to the attention of your healthcare professional can make all the difference. At 24Genetics, we conduct a pharmacogenetics report divided into four different areas with a wide range of drugs. We talk in terms of efficacy, such as dosage and toxicity. Visit our store page and find out more about this test Pharma



  1. Magazine and News. 2021. España: Medicina de Precisión y patentes. https://biotechmagazineandnews.com/espana-medicina-de-precision-y-patentes/
  2. Klein, T.E., et al. Estimation of the warfarin dose with clinical and pharmacogenetic data. N Engl J Med. 2009 Feb 19;360(8):753-64. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa0809329. Erratum in: N Engl J Med. 2009 Oct 15;361(16):1613. Dosage error in article text. PMID: 19228618; PMCID: PMC2722908.
  3. Mega, J., et al. Genetic variants in ABCB1 and CYP2C19 and cardiovascular outcomes after treatment with Clopidogrel and prasugrel in the TRITON–TIMI 38 trial: a pharmacogenetic analysis, The Lancet. 2010. 1312-1319, ISSN 0140-6736, https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61273-1.
  4. Kato, M., and Serretti, A. Review and meta-analysis of antidepressant pharmacogenetic findings in major depressive disorder. Mol Psychiatry 15, 473–500 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2008.116
  5. Clinical Pharmacogenetics implementation consortium. 2021. https://cpicpgx.org/
  6. Food and Drug Administration. United States. 2021. https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/precision-medicine/table-pharmacogenetic-associations
  7. Statista. 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/184914/prescription-drug-expenditures-in-the-us-since-1960/
  8. Verbelen, M.et al. Cost-effectiveness of pharmacogenetic-guided treatment: are we there yet? Pharmacogenomics J. 2017 Oct;17(5):395-402. doi: 10.1038/tpj.2017.21. Epub 2017 Jun 13. PMID: 28607506; PMCID: PMC5637230.
  9. Mizzi C.et al. (2016) A European Spectrum of Pharmacogenomic Biomarkers: Implications for Clinical Pharmacogenomics. PLoS ONE 11(9): e0162866. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0162866
  10. Van Driest SL, et alClinically actionable genotypes among 10,000 patients with preemptive pharmacogenomic testing. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Apr;95(4):423-31. doi: 10.1038/clpt.2013.229. Epub 2013 Nov 19. PMID: 24253661; PMCID: PMC3961508.
  11. Ji Y., et al. Preemptive Pharmacogenomic Testing for Precision Medicine: A Comprehensive Analysis of Five Actionable Pharmacogenomic Genes Using Next-Generation DNA Sequencing and a Customized CYP2D6 Genotyping Cascade. J Mol Diagn. 2016 May;18(3):438-445. doi: 10.1016/j.jmoldx.01.003. Epub 2016 Mar 3. PMID: 26947514; PMCID: PMC4851731.
  12. Ubiquitous Pharmacogenomics. European Union. 2021. https://upgx.eu/study-overview-spanish-version/
  13. European Medicines Agency. 2021. https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/human-regulatory/research-development/scientific-guidelines/multidisciplinary/multidisciplinary-pharmacogenomics
  14. Bank, PCD, et al. Estimated nationwide impact of implementing a preemptive pharmacogenetic panel approach to guide drug prescribing in primary care in The Netherlands. BMC Med 17, 110 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-019-1342-5
  15. Proyecto Medea. 2021. https://www.proyectomedea.es/?page_id=843&lang=en

Written by Dr. André Flores Bello


Macular degeneration and genetics

Macular degeneration is an eye disease that affects millions of people worldwide. Although age is a major risk factor, genetics also plays a role in its development. In fact, some forms of macular degeneration are related to specific genetic mutations, which can be...

read more

Rare Diseases

Rare diseases are characterized by their low prevalence, which is defined as the number of people in a specific group who suffer from a certain disease at a specific time.  While there is no single definition for the term "rare disease," they are all based on the...

read more

Obesity and genetics

Obesity is defined as an abnormal or excessive accumulation of fat that can be detrimental to health (1). Therefore, some of the main questions revolving around it concern whether obesity is genetic or hereditary. Among the different existing methods to measure and...

read more

The influence of genetics on intracranial aneurysms

It’s important to understand the factors that can put brain health at risk. Research has shown that both environmental and genetic factors can increase the risk of an intracranial aneurysm, a weakened area in a blood vessel in the brain that causes it to dilate or...

read more

Primary biliary cirrhosis: a genetic liver disorder

Primary biliary cirrhosis, also known as primary biliary cholangitis, is a disease characterized by progressive destruction of liver cells, which can lead to a number of serious complications. It is known that there may be genetic susceptibility in the development of...

read more

What role do genetics play in rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis falls into a very broad group of pathologies called autoimmune diseases. These chronic conditions are characterized by the immune system attacking its own tissues and organs, which can occur anywhere in the body.  The exact cause of autoimmune...

read more

Wilms tumor and genetics

The World Health Organization estimates that more than three hundred thousand children are diagnosed with cancer worldwide each year [2].   Wilms tumor is one of the most common childhood renal cancers, although its incidence is not too high: 1 in 10,000 children...

read more
    Your cart is empty
      Calculate Shipping
      Apply Coupon