Genome guides pharmacies

Several local pharmacies recently took part in provincewide research project that is looking to the future of prescribing drugs.

The project, Genomics for Precision Drug Therapy in the Community Pharmacy, used genetics to determine which drugs and in what dosage would work best for patients. The field is called pharmacogenomics.

The project was funded by the B.C. Pharmacy Association and Genome British Columbia. The research was carried out by the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Thirty-three pharmacies across the province participated in the study, using 200 volunteer patients.

While genetic information about patients has been used almost exclusively by labs in the past, the project put this information in the hands of pharmacists, who could use it as a guide for drug therapy decisions.

“I think we’ve always known that this is where the future of pharmacy is headed – helping patients know which medication works for them and in what dosage before they start,” said Cameron Bonell, pharmacist at Lakeside Medicine Centre Pharmacy in Kelowna. “I was excited to be part of this project that ultimately will help patients with their everyday medications.”

Genetic information was collected from patients using a saliva swab, which was processed and sequenced at UBC.

The sequencing of the DNA was completed in late January, and researchers are studying the data to determine how drug prescriptions would differ, had pharmacists had this data.

“One of the most immediate opportunities for genomics in health care is to guide treatment decisions and reduce the risk of adverse drug reactions. This project is tackling just that by enabling pharmacists the insights needed to match the right medication, at the right dose, to the right patient,” said Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa at Genome BC.

The Lakeside Medicine Centre Pharmacy and Remedy Rx pharmacy in Kelowna participated in the research, along with Andreens’s Medicine Centre in West Kelowna and Pratt’s Compounding Pharmacy in Kamloops.


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