The Future: Pharmacogenetics in Primary Care

primary carePrimary care physicians are in a prime position to advance the continued implementation of pharmacogenetic testing to improve patient care, according to a review article in the journal Primary Care Reports.

The article, which appeared in the October issue of Primary Care Reports, makes the case that primary care physicians are ideally positioned to advise patients in a manner that will make pharmacogenetic, or drug-sensitivity, testing more clinically useful. The authors write that not only are the vast majority of prescriptions written in the primary care setting, but that an estimated 60 percent of adverse drug events (ADEs) take place in the primary care setting. ADEs, defined as any injury resulting from drug use, contributed to an estimated 13.5 million patient visits between 2005 and 2007.

The review article’s authors report that education for primary care physicians on pharmacogenetic testing is an important first step in expanding the use of this technology, citing two published surveys that found a marked lack of self-reported understanding of this testing among primary care physicians. Creating protocols to determine which patients would most benefit from pharmacogenetic testing will also be a key consideration for primary care physicians.

“Despite significant barriers and pitfalls, creating solid protocols for implementation will yield optimal results for physicians and patients as genetic information takes a more prominent place in patient care,” the review article authors conclude.

An online CME course through AHC Media focusing on this Primary Care Reports article is available and costs $33.75 for those who do not subscribe to the journal. Learn about what credits are offered through the course, read the article and take the test via the Genelex resources page here.

The article was co-authored by Genelex regional pharmacist liaison Brian Hocum, PharmD, CGP.