Perspectives from the Society for Pediatric Research: pharmacogenetics for pediatricians

Pediatr Res. 2022 Feb;91(3):529-538. doi: 10.1038/s41390-021-01499-2. Epub 2021 Apr 6.


This review evaluates the pediatric evidence for pharmacogenetic associations for drugs that are commonly prescribed by or encountered by pediatric clinicians across multiple subspecialties, organized from most to least pediatric evidence. We begin with the pharmacogenetic research that led to the warning of increased risk of death in certain pediatric populations ("ultrarapid metabolizers") who are prescribed codeine after tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy. We review the evidence for genetic testing for thiopurine metabolism, which has become routine in multiple pediatric subspecialties. We discuss the pharmacogenetic research in proton pump inhibitors, for which clinical guidelines have recently been made available. With an increase in the prevalence of behavioral health disorders including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), we review the pharmacogenetic literature on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, and ADHD medications. We will conclude this section on the current pharmacogenetic data on ondansetron. We also provide our perspective on how to integrate the current research on pharmacogenetics into clinical care and what further research is needed. We discuss how institutions are managing pharmacogenetic test results and implementing them clinically, and how the electronic health record can be leveraged to ensure testing results are available and taken into consideration when prescribing medications. IMPACT: While many reviews of pharmacogenetics literature are available, there are few focused on pediatrics. Pediatricians across subspecialties will become more comfortable with pharmacogenetics terminology, know resources they can use to help inform their prescribing habits for drugs with known pharmacogenetic associations, and understand the limitations of testing and where further research is needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity*
  • Child
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Pediatricians
  • Pharmacogenetics*
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors