Genome-wide association study of medication-use and associated disease in the UK Biobank

Nat Commun. 2019 Apr 23;10(1):1891. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09572-5.


Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of medication use may contribute to understanding of disease etiology, could generate new leads relevant for drug discovery and can be used to quantify future risk of medication taking. Here, we conduct GWASs of self-reported medication use from 23 medication categories in approximately 320,000 individuals from the UK Biobank. A total of 505 independent genetic loci that meet stringent criteria (P < 10-8/23) for statistical significance are identified. We investigate the implications of these GWAS findings in relation to biological mechanism, potential drug target identification and genetic risk stratification of disease. Amongst the medication-associated genes are 16 known therapeutic-effect target genes for medications from 9 categories. Two of the medication classes studied are for disorders that have not previously been subject to large GWAS (hypothyroidism and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biological Specimen Banks
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / genetics
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Databases, Factual
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / genetics
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Genetic Loci
  • Genome, Human*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Mental Disorders / genetics
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / drug therapy
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / genetics
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Pharmacogenomic Testing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prescription Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • Self Administration
  • Self Report
  • United Kingdom


  • Prescription Drugs