DNA test at the drug store

The way people take medicine for aches and pains, heart ailments, antidepressants and many other conditions is about to change.

New DNA testing is expected to help doctors and pharmacists personalize medicinal treatment for a patient.

In Vernon, Nolan's Pharmasave on 30th Avenue is one of a handful of local pharmacies offering DNA testing to see how prescription and over-the-counter drugs interact in the body.

“What it does is test our genome, our genetic makeup and tells us how we process medication, “ said Kyle Brewer, pharmacist at Nolan's. “Different liver enzymes breakdown different medicines so, depending on your genetic makeup, you might metabolize the drug really fast or really, really slow.”

Brewer said the way the drugs interact may cause side effects in some people or not be effective for others.

“In knowing that information, we're able to personalize medication to that actual patient rather than generalizing it to the general public.”

The simple test takes just seconds, with a person swabbing the inside of their mouth for genetic material.

Costs range from $149 for a single test to $199 for all four tests available.

Currently, Nolan's is identifying clients who might benefit from the test, such as people suffering side effects from medication, and will also make appointments for anyone who is interested in taking one.

Brewer called DNA testing the way of the future for pharmacists.

“We're going to have to modify medicine to each individual person rather than the masses.”

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