Pharmacogenetics

In this post, we review the role that pharmacogenetics play in improving outcomes for plan members on disability.

What is Pharmacogenetics?

Pharmacogentics is essentially genetic drug testing. It measures how an individual will respond to certain types of medications based on his or her unique DNA profile. Using a simple cheek swab, the goal is to improve health outcomes and reduce side effects.


Why Genetic Drug Testing?

For certain illnesses, and notably mental illnesses, finding the right medication through trial and error can be lengthy and frustrating. Pharmacogenetics can be a powerful tool to reduce the time it takes doctors and patients to find a treatment that works.


When side effects are reduced, drug adherence tends to increase, leading to better outcomes.


In addition, pharmacogenetics can reduce plan costs. First, by reducing lengthy disability claims, and second, by reducing the money spent on medications that ultimately won’t work.


How Does it Work?

Pharmacogenetic testing is a voluntary option being offered by certain insurers. Employees on disability are offered the opportunity to participate in this kind of testing if criteria are met.


A clinical pharmacist reviews the results of the test and shares a detailed report with the plan member and their attending physician. In about 50% of cases, a different medication is recommended.