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AAPS J. 2006 Mar 24;8(1):E174-84.

Symbiotic relationship of pharmacogenetics and drugs of abuse.

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  • 1National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Pharmacogenetics/pharmacogenomics is the study of how genetic variation affects pharmacology, the use of drugs to treat disease. When drug responses are predicted in advance, it is easier to tailor medications to different diseases and individuals. Pharmacogenetics provides the tools required to identify genetic predictors of probable drug response, drug efficacy, and drug-induced adverse events-identifications that would ideally precede treatment decisions. Drug abuse and addiction genetic data have advanced the field of pharmacogenetics in general. Although major findings have emerged, pharmacotherapy remains hindered by issues such as adverse events, time lag to drug efficacy, and heterogeneity of the disorders being treated. The sequencing of the human genome and high-throughput technologies are enabling pharmacogenetics to have greater influence on treatment approaches. This review highlights key studies and identifies important genes in drug abuse pharmacogenetics that provide a basis for better diagnosis and treatment of drug abuse disorders.

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