Managing cardiovascular health conditions presents a unique challenge for healthcare providers because individual responses to medications are so varied. Several classes of medications, including blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering drugs, anti-platelet agents, antiarrhythmic drugs, and agents to control bleeding and clotting can provoke adverse effects based on an individual’s genetic makeup.1,2 Now, there is a more informed way to prescribe medication for cardiovascular health.

Mitigate ineffective treatments and adverse drug reactions

There are several common, well-documented genetic variations that can substantially reduce or increase the functionality of enzymes responsible for the body’s breakdown of frequently-prescribed medications.2,3 If a patient harbors any of these genetic mutations, it may have a dramatic effect on their body’s ability to metabolize many commonly-prescribed cardiovascular drugs.4 The result is either reduced efficacy of the medication, which increases the risk of a major cardiovascular event, or increased risk of an adverse drug reaction, diminishing patient safety and quality of life.

Major medical centers in the United States—including Vanderbilt Medical Center and the University of Florida–are beginning to implement molecular genetic tests in patients undergoing certain procedures or taking certain medications.5,6 Implementation of pharmacogenetic testing at these institutions highlights the growing role that genetic testing can play in tailoring safe and effective treatments to an individual’s genetic make-up.

The role of genetic testing in prescription

A patient taking statins may experience muscle aches, commonly termed myalgia, as a result of the medication.Some patients have a small chance of developing a serious, life-threatening adverse drug reaction called statin-induced myopathy.8 Yet in one genome-wide association study of patients taking 80 mg of simvastatin a day, more than 60 percent of such infrequent reactions were explained by a single base pair substitution in a gene encoding a liver transporter enzyme involved in the clearance of statins.8 In fact, the Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium recently issued guidelines surrounding the use of genetic testing and simvastatin for preventing adverse myopathy reactions,9 indicating the role that genetic testing can play in tailoring safe and effective therapy to your patient.

Kashi’s Pharmacogenetics Cardiac Health Panel provides physicians with the genetic information they need to select the best drugs and dosing regimens for patients who are either at risk, or currently undergoing treatment for a cardiovascular disease. This intelligent approach to prescribing the correct medications for cardiovascular health management may significantly improve long-term patient wellness and outcomes.

Gene Tests Included in the Cardia Health Panel

CYP2C9 A key metabolizer of the anticoagulant drug, warfarin, NSAIDS, sulfonylureas, and angiotensin II receptor antagonists2,10
CYP2C19 A major activator of the anti-platelet prodrug, clopidogrel and metabolizer of proton pump inhibitors such as omeprazole 2,11
CYP2D6 Plays a role in metabolizing certain beta-blockers and anti-arrhythmic drugs 2,12
VKORC1 A key site of action for the anticoagulant drug, warfarin 10,12
Factor II Affects the body’s ability to form blood clots. Certain genetic variants linked to an increased risk of thromboembolisms.13
Factor V Certain genetic variants enhance the body’s coagulability which may lead to thromboembolisms 14
MTHFR Contributes to increased levels of homocysteine, a risk factor for heart disease, atherosclerosis, and diabetic peripheral neuropathy 15,16,17
CYP3A4/5 Plays a role in metabolizing statin medications, which are commonly prescribed to improve cholesterol. 18
SLCO1B1 Modulates the body’s ability to metabolize statin medications, which are commonly prescribed to improve cholesterol levels8,9

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