Addictive DNA: Test could reveal if you are susceptible to drug, alcohol addiction

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- It’s estimated that 23.5 million Americans struggle with an addiction.

Recent reports indicate music icon Prince struggled with a painkiller addiction, which may have lead to his death.

As more and more Americans come forward for treatment and lawmakers write legislation that will slow this dangerous trend, the area of pharmacogenetics may be taking a singular lead in getting ahead of the problem.

Pharmacogenetics is the study of genetic differences in drug metabolic pathways which can affect a person’s response to drugs.  It’s thought pharmacogenetic testing is an opportunity to improve prescribing safety and efficiency.

A local laboratory, Patients Choice, is newly-equipped with the devices, which can give patients and their physicians feedback on metabolic rates.  They claim their genetic tests have been extensively validated by highly-trained scientists.  And the goal, they claim, is to find the best regimen for any particular patient.

“What we are launching is an addiction genetic panel that will show if someone is predisposed to being addicted to alcohol, tobacco or pain medications.  So we wanted to find a way to get in front of this problem,” said Bradley Moss, president of Patients Choice Laboratories.

The process of retrieving a genetic sample is fairly simple: it’s a quick swab of the inside of a patient’s cheek. From there, the material is processed and analyzed to determine whether the patient rapidly or slowly metabolizes any particular drug.

“Studies do show, about half of the reasons someone becomes addicted is because of their genetic predisposition,” said Moss.  “We don’t just want to monitor, we want to get in front of the problem, because it’s a huge problem. It’s killing people."

For more on the services offered by Patients Choice Laboratories , click here.

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