Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Personalized medicines could change prescribing practices

From CBC News:
Much of the $30 billion that Canadians spend on drugs every year is wasted, but personalized medicines could revolutionize the way doctors prescribe, a biopharmaceutical researcher says.

People have genetic differences that determine how their bodies react to drugs such as warfarin or Coumadin, a blood thinner taken to prevent clotting. It is tricky to get the dosing right, because too little has no effect but too much can cause bleeding.

"Maybe you need more or maybe you have too much," said Serge Carriere, a healthy 70-year-old in Montreal who takes warfarin because he is at high risk for stroke. "It depends on the individual, the way they metabolize the drug."

Dr. Jean-Claude Tardif of the Montreal Heart Institute is testing the use of genetic analysis to help tailor drug dosages for patients like Carriere. ...more

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