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New era of prescribing medicines: new genetic test finds out better and safer drugs


Key points from article :

Some drugs are ineffective or deadly because of subtle differences in our bodies.

The British Pharmacological Society and the RCP say a genetic test can predict how well drugs work in your body.

Tests could be available in 2023 on the NHS.

"99.5% of us have at least one change in our genome," said Mark Caulfield, the president-elect of the British Pharmacological Society.

Genetic code of one in 500 people puts them at higher risk of deafness if they take antibiotic gentamicin.

Testing people's DNA before prescribing the drug means the risk is now zero.

Technology to roll out genetic testing to guide the use of 40 of most prescribed drugs in the UK.

Costs about £100 and could be done using either a sample of blood or saliva.

In the long term, the ambition is to test well ahead of time - possibly at birth, or as part of a routine check-up in your 50s.

"Moving from 'one drug and one dose fits all' to a more personalised approach," - Munir Pirmohamed from the University of Liverpool.

NHS to roll out genetic test that is currently able to match 40 drugs to patient's genetic code

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British Pharmacological Society

Supporting and advancing all areas in pharmacology

Mark Caulfield

Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Munir Pirmohamed

David Weatherall Chair of Medicine and NHS Chair of Pharmacogenetics at the University of Liverpool


UK National Health Service, publicly funded healthcare system in England

Royal College of Physicians (RCP)

Professional body with goal to improve the quality of patient care.