That information already is being put to medical use. Last August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration changed the labeling to say that doctors should consider a genetic test when first prescribing warfarin, better known by its brand name, Coumadin.
But warfarin is a notoriously difficult drug to manage, especially at the start. Too much can lead to hemorrhages; too little can allow clots to form. One individual may do well on 1.5 milligrams a day, while another may require 20 milligrams daily.
Two genes are known to affect the response to warfarin. One, designated CYP2C9, governs the metabolism of the medication, or how fast it is eliminated from the body. The other, designated VKORC1, governs sensitivity, or how the body reacts to a given dose of warfarin. The new study of 297 people starting warfarin therapy showed that variants of the sensitivity gene should be considered in the first prescription, Stein said.
Genetic Test Predicts Response to Warfarin - Forbes.com
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