Pharmacogenetic Testing In Community Pharmacies Best Practices:
Pharmacogenetics is getting a lot of media attention and becoming a new term that patients are asking their Pharmacists about (plus performing a lot of research on their own). In a recent article in Pharmacy Times, the author states that over the past several years “Pharmacogenetic testing in community pharmacies has become more mainstream”. It has also been stated numerous times recently that Pharmacogenetics is becoming the primary basis or foundation for the shift towards personalized medicine and medication prescribing.
So what really is Pharmacogenetics? As Pharmacists, what do we need to do to help it be effective in helping our customers and patients?
The definition of Pharmacogenetics is basically centered around the fact that an individual patient’s genetic makeup can lead to different individual responses to certain medications. These genetic differences can lead to increased or decreased effectiveness of the drugs, plus also have an influence on the adverse side effects associated with certain medications. Pharmacogenetics is just one aspect of what is being called “Personalized Medicine” (where medications are tailored to each patient based on a model that places the patient into groups that result in a predicted response regarding response, dosage and risks).
The key to success we believe here at HealthCare Consultants is education and communication. This education and communication includes everyone: Ourselves as Pharmacists, the physicians prescribing the medications and, of course, the patients themselves. For the best results in a community Pharmacy setting, this translates into increased counseling with our patients and increased communication with the prescribing doctors regarding pharmacogenetic test results. Studies are already showing that without proper counseling by a Pharmacist, patients who receive their genetic test results showed a tendency to self-adjust or discontinue their medications due to misinterpretation of the test results.
Those who choose to be participants in the success of Pharmacogenetic testing in community pharmacies need to ask themselves the following questions:
-How will I communicate to my patients the basics of Pharmacogenetic science and drug metabolism in a way that the average patient can comprehend?
– Where will I find the most up to date Pharmacogenetic guidelines?
– How will I get started and keep myself educated on Pharmacogenetic testing?
HealthCare Consultants can help you establish the guidelines, strategies and procedures required for a community Pharmacy to be a success in the emergence of Pharmacogenetic testing. Although this is not intended to be a comprehensive list of guidelines, the basic strategies include:
1. Communication with the patient’s Physician – Collaborate with the patient’s primary care provider in order to personalize the patient’s medication and become part of the “team”.
2. Assessing the patient’s knowledge on genetics and communicating to each patient individually on their level.
3. Providing the patient adequate disclaimers so that they comprehend that taking medications based on a Pharmacogenetic test does not mean that they are free of adverse effects or that they will be 100% effective.
4. Training the patient on how to use the test results (as basically these results can be reused by the patient throughout their life).
If you are interested in getting more information regarding Pharmacogenetic testing for your pharmacy, please contact us on line or call us today for a Free Consultation at 800-642-1652 to discuss how we can help you. Healthcare Consultants is a nationally renowned full service Pharmacy staffing and consulting firm that has been in business for over 27 years. Owned, managed and staffed by full-time in-house Pharmacists, HCC offers a full range of Pharmacy Consulting Services that other firms simply cannot offer.