DNA and medications: pharmacogenomics

In this video, learn about how your DNA can affect your response to medications like codeine.



Just like how everyone responds differently to caffeine, the effects of a medication can vary greatly between people. What works for one person may not be as effective for others, or may cause side effects. One of the reasons for this is variation in your DNA.

Pharmacogenomics is the study of the interaction between your DNA and medications. Your DNA contains the genetic instructions needed for your body to grow, develop and function. This includes the instructions to make proteins and other molecules responsible for breaking down medications, which is necessary for them to travel through the body and work effectively. If people have variants in their DNA that affect these instructions, they may process medications differently to other people. 

The CYP2D6 gene is involved in breaking down several medications, including the painkiller codeine. Some people have a variant in the CYP2D6 gene that causes it to not work as well. When these people take codeine, it doesn't get broken down as efficiently, which means it may be less effective at relieving pain. Other people have a variant that causes CYP2D6 to break down codeine too quickly – these people are more likely to experience side effects.

In this video, learn more about pharmacogenomics, and see how information from a pharmacogenomic test could potentially help your doctor prescribe the medications that will work best for you.


Tags: video, DNA, gene, genome sequencing, pharmacogenomics


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Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Kinghorn Centre for Clinical Genomics, November 2018.