Ask a Pharmacist: Pharmacogenomic Testing for Pain Management (February 26th, 2018)



  • Unfortunately, right now the tests are not covered under MSP.



  • @Clearwater The costs are not covered by MSOP but you may be able to claim them through a Health Spending Account if you have that kind of benefit as part of an Extended Health plan.



  • @bryce.wong Are any of the costs covered by MSP?



  • The costs range from $149 to $499.



  • There are a number of pharmacogenomic testing options in Canada that are sold through different channels such as through pharmacies, online or through physicians. The companies that are selling pharmacogenomic tests that I am aware of include myDNA, Genexys and Pillcheck.



  • Thanks, Bryce. It looks like Clearwater is wondering how patients can access pharmacogenomic testing, and what it costs.



  • As far as I am aware there are no strong pharmacogenomic associations between any genes and acetaminophen. There are some pharmacogenomic associations between some genes and certain NSAIDs.



  • How do patients access this service? What does it cost?



  • The results depend on the test and drug in question. Which brings up an important point. When considering a pharmacogenomic test it's important to ask what genes & drugs are covered by the test to ensure that it will provide results that may be applicable to you.



  • @bryce.wong Another member in our social community would like to ask: "Can pharmacogenomic testing determine if some people are less affected by OTC pain meds, e.g. get less of an analgesic effect than average from NSAIDS or Tylenol?"



  • If you've had to go through a lot of trial and error in finding medications that work for you there could be a genetic component to why that is happening.



  • Pharmacogenomic testing can provide results and recommendations based on your genes for a number of different medications including medications used to treat pain like codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone some anti-inflammatory medications and some medications used to treat nerve pain. The results may help inform you on whether you may be at greater risk of side effects or potentially ineffectiveness from some of these medications.



  • @bryce.wong said:

    he test can identify what variation of these genes you may possess, which can impact how effectively you can eliminate medications from your body. If you have genes which are "less active" it could lead to toxic build up of medication in your body leading to harmful side effects or if you genes are "overactive" it could lead to excessive clearance of a drug and lead to decreased effectiveness.

    How common is it for people to have a "less active" or overactive response to a medication?



  • Great. Our next question was submitted to us on social: "How can pharmacogenomic testing specifically help people with chronic pain?"



  • Broadly speaking, pharmacogenomic testing is a type of DNA testing that analyzes specific genes involved in drug metabolism. The test can identify what variation of these genes you may possess, which can impact how effectively you can eliminate medications from your body. If you have genes which are "less active" it could lead to toxic build up of medication in your body leading to harmful side effects or if you genes are "overactive" it could lead to excessive clearance of a drug and lead to decreased effectiveness.



  • Sorry! Technical difficulties.

    In response to your question:

    Pharmacogenomic testing is a type of DNA testing that can predict how your DNA may influence the way that you will process and/or respond to certain medications.



  • Let's get started! Bryce/Derek, can either of you begin by telling us about what pharmacogenomic testing is?



  • Good morning everyone :)



  • Good morning and hello to everyone joining us on today's Ask the Expert series. We will be getting started in approximately 15 minutes.


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