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Pharmacogenetics: ready for clinical practice?, Science in Practice from early detection to guided treatment

ESC Congress Report

  • Pharmacogenetics will become clinically relevant in the foreseeable future
  • Anticoagulant therapy one of the likely areas where pharmacogenetics may be important
  • Genetic information may prevent severe drug reactions when statins are started
  • Genetics of particular importance in long QT syndrome 

View the Slides from this session in ESC Congress 365

This symposium clearly illustrated that pharmacogenetics is not an obscure hobby of basic scientists, but will be applicable in clinical practice in the near future.

Dr. Munir Pirmohamed (Liverpool, GB) and Dr Anke Hilse Maitland-van der Zee (Utrecht, NL) discussed whether dosing of oral anticoagulants needs to be guided by pharmacogenetics. The jury is still out, but a genotype-guided loading dose of anticoagulants seems beneficial, especially when genotyping costs keep decreasing.

Another clinical application is the genetic background of statin side effects as discussed by Dr. Mikko Niemi from (Helsinki, FL). Several genetic factors have been identified that increases the toxicity of certain statins, one variant increases the risk more than threefold. Dr. Niemi proposed creating a guideline for statin prescription based on genotype information. Availability of genetic information in patients using statins would help to prevent severe drug reactions.

Finally, Dr Elijah Behr ( London, GB) updated the audience regarding genetics of QT prolongation and torsades de pointes by drug use. Some interesting variants, such as NOS1AP were identified but large sample sizes are needed to fully understand the underlying genetic background responsible for QT prolongation.

In conclusion, pharmacogenetics is an exciting fast-moving field that cannot be ignored anymore by the practicing clinician. It will only be matter of time before patients provide you with their genetic data to interpret.




Pharmacogenetics: ready for clinical practice?, Science in Practice from early detection to guided treatment

The content of this article reflects the personal opinion of the author/s and is not necessarily the official position of the European Society of Cardiology.