Objectives: The safety and efficacy of medications can vary significantly between patients as a result of genetic variability. As genomic screening technologies become more widely available, pharmacists are ideally suited to use such tools to optimize medication therapy management. The objective of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of implementing personalized medication services into community pharmacy practice and to assess the number of drug therapy problems identified as a result of pharmacogenomic screening.
Setting: The study was conducted in 2 busy urban community pharmacies, operating under the brand Shoppers Drug Mart, in Toronto, Ontario.
Practice innovation: Pharmacists offered pharmacogenomic screening as part of their professional services program. Eligible patients received a buccal swab followed by DNA analysis with the use of Pillcheck. Pillcheck is a genotyping assay that translates genomic data and generates a personalized evidence-based report that provides insight into patients' inherited drug metabolic profile. After receiving the report, pharmacists invited patients back to the clinic for interpretation of the results. Clinically significant drug therapy problems were identified and recommendations for medication optimization forwarded to the primary care physician.
Results: One hundred patients were enrolled in the study. Average age was 56.7 years, and patients were taking a mean of 4.9 chronic medications. Pharmacists cited the most common reasons for testing as ineffective therapy (43.0%), to address an adverse reaction (32.6%), and to guide initiation of therapy (10.4%). An average of 1.3 drug therapy problems directly related to pharmacogenomic testing were identified per patient. Pharmacist recommendations included change in therapy (60.3%), dose adjustment (13.2%), discontinuation of a drug (4.4%), and increased monitoring (22.1%).
Conclusion: These results highlight the readiness of community pharmacists to adopt pharmacogenomic screening into practice and their ability to leverage this novel technology to positively affect medication therapy management. Community pharmacists are ideally suited to both offer personalized medication services and interpret genomic results.
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