Pharmacogenetics: from bench to byte

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2008 May;83(5):781-7. doi: 10.1038/sj.clpt.6100507. Epub 2008 Feb 6.


Despite initial enthusiasm, the use of pharmacogenetics has remained limited to investigation in only a few clinical fields such as oncology and psychiatry. The main reason is the paucity of scientific evidence to show that pharmacogenetic testing leads to improved clinical outcomes. Moreover, for most pharmacogenetic tests (such as tests for genetic variants of cytochrome P450 enzymes) a detailed knowledge of pharmacology is a prerequisite for application in clinical practice, and both physicians and pharmacists might find it difficult to interpret the clinical value of pharmacogenetic test results. Guidelines that link the result of a pharmacogenetic test to therapeutic recommendations might help to overcome these problems, but such guidelines are only sparsely available. In 2001, an early step was taken to develop such guidelines for the therapeutic use of antidepressants, and these included CYP2D6-related dose recommendations drawn from pharmacokinetic study data. However, the use of such recommendations in routine clinical practice remains difficult, because they are currently outside the ambit of the clinical environment and are not accessible during the decision-making process by physicians and pharmacists, namely the prescription and dispensing of drugs.

MeSH terms

  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Drug Therapy, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Humans
  • Medication Systems
  • Pharmacogenetics / methods*
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic