Matching medicine dosage to patient's DNA can cut side effects 30%: LUMC
Tailoring medicine dosages to a patient’s DNA can reduce serious side effects by 30 percent, according to an international study led by Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) and published in The Lancet. “The one-size-fits-all approach for prescribing medication is outdated,” LUMC said.
Variations in people’s genetic information mean that they respond differently to medicines. Some process medication faster, resulting in them needing a higher dosage for the necessary intervention. “Personalized treatment is therefore desirable.” according to the university hospital.
LUMC researchers developed a DNA medication pass that adjusts the dosage of medication influenced by DNA to the patient’s genetic profile. Approximately 7,000 patients from seven European countries tested the DNA pass. The researchers looked at 39 selected drugs over several medical specialties, including oncology, cardiology, psychiatry, and general medicine.
Half of the participants used the standard dosage of the medicine, and the other half had the dosage adjusted based on their DNA pass. “The Lancet study found that patients who actively make use of the medication pass, and whose doses are adjusted according to their DNA, experience 30% fewer serious side effects than patients who were prescribed a standard dose of medicine,” LUMC said. Pass users also said they liked using the DNA pass as it made them feel more in control and actively involved in their treatment.
“For the first time, we have proven that a ‘tailored’ strategy works at a large scale within clinical practice. There is now enough evidence for us to proceed with implementation,” said Henk-Jan Guchelaar, Professor of Clinical Pharmacy at LUMC and coordinator of the study.
The next step is to start using the DNA medication pass on a large scale. Guchelaar believes it should be a reimbursed part of standard care. “We want to move towards mapping the DNA of every patient who comes to the pharmacy,” Guchelaar said. “This way, we can make treatment more effective and safer for each patient.”