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



  • What are some of the common pain meds that this kind of testing can be used for?



  • There are no risks to taking the test.

    However there are limitations which you should be aware of and ask about before getting tested. Good questions to ask would be what genes and drugs are covered by a test as it will vary between the different companies/tests.



  • Typically an HSA may be a benefit offered as part of your employer's benefit package. Also a good point from that definition is that CRA typically only recognizes a test that is prescribed by a physician, hence why it's a good idea to check with your plan to see if they will cover a pharmacogenomic test and under which conditions.



  • Someone from Facebook asks: "are there any major risks associated with getting this test done?"



  • @bryce.wong Thank you!



  • Here is a google'd definition -

    A Health Spending Account is a group benefit that provides reimbursement for a wide range of health-related expenses, over and above regular benefit plans. HSA's are administered in accordance with Canada Revenue Agency guidelines.



  • That's a good point RPh1982 - if you do have an Health Spending Account the test may be eligible for coverage, but I would just double check with your plan to see if they will cover the cost of the test.



  • @RPh1982 Are you able to explain in more detail what a Health Spending Account is?



  • @RPh1982 Okay, thanks



  • Although the costs are not covered by MSP 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.



  • 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?"


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