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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2012 Oct;74(4):698-721. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04328.x.

Personalized medicine: is it a pharmacogenetic mirage?

Author information

1
Rashmi Shah Consultancy Ltd, Gerrards Cross, UK. clinical.safety@hotmail.co.uk

Abstract

The notion of personalized medicine has developed from the application of the discipline of pharmacogenetics to clinical medicine. Although the clinical relevance of genetically-determined inter-individual differences in pharmacokinetics is poorly understood, and the genotype-phenotype association data on clinical outcomes often inconsistent, officially approved drug labels frequently include pharmacogenetic information concerning the safety and/or efficacy of a number of drugs and refer to the availability of the pharmacogenetic test concerned. Regulatory authorities differ in their approach to these issues. Evidence emerging subsequently has generally revealed the pharmacogenetic information included in the label to be premature. Revised drugs labels, together with a flurry of other collateral activities, have raised public expectations of personalized medicine, promoted as 'the right drug at the right dose the first time.' These expectations place the prescribing physician in a dilemma and at risk of litigation, especially when evidence-based information on genotype-related dosing schedules is to all intent and purposes non-existent and guidelines, intended to improve the clinical utility of available pharmacogenetic information or tests, distance themselves from any responsibility. Lack of efficacy or an adverse drug reaction is frequently related to non-genetic factors. Phenoconversion, arising from drug interactions, poses another often neglected challenge to any potential success of personalized medicine by mimicking genetically-determined enzyme deficiency. A more realistic promotion of personalized medicine should acknowledge current limitations and emphasize that pharmacogenetic testing can only improve the likelihood of diminishing a specific toxic effect or increasing the likelihood of a beneficial effect and that application of pharmacogenetics to clinical medicine cannot adequately predict drug response in individual patients.

PMID:
22591598
PMCID:
PMC3477339
DOI:
10.1111/j.1365-2125.2012.04328.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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