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Important New Test Helps Find Right Drug, Supplement and Dose

May 31, 2016 10:25PM
by Charles Gant, MD
An important new test is now available which is fully covered by Medicare and insurance plans. It’s called a pharmacogenetic test, which uses genetic makeup to help the doctor determine what medications, supplements and dosages will work best for each patient. Since an individual’s genes do not change, each person needs to be tested only once in order to have this valuable, potentially lifesaving information on hand for the rest of the individual’s life.

The simple DNA test is quick and non-invasive, requiring only a cheek swab to capture a sample of saliva. The results will be available to the prescribing doctor within days, and can help each tested patient avoid uncomfortable and dangerous side effects and adverse drug reactions. This test can also predict if a medication will work at all. 

Why should each person be tested?
Every individual responds differently to medications and supplements. Many drugs that are currently available are “one size fits all", but they don’t work the same way for everyone because we are genetically unique. How much is too much? How much is too little?

Approximately 50 percent of all patients undergoing pain management will not receive adequate relief at first dosing. They may also be at a higher risk of experiencing adverse, potentially life-threatening events. This quandary includes non-prescribed drugs, such as aspirin or Tylenol, and herbs like ginseng, as well as common medications like statins, Coumadin, antidepressants and psychiatric drugs.

It can be difficult to predict who will benefit from a medication, who will not respond at all and who will experience negative side effects. Adverse drug reactions are a significant cause of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States. Deaths due to prescribed drugs may be the third leading cause of death (cardiovascular is the highest, cancer is second). Simple, inexpensive, pharmacogenetic testing can change all this.

Where can an individual get tested?
Each individual should start with their doctor. A few doctors have begun to offer testing to their patients, but since many are not yet familiar with it, the patient may have to show their doctor this article. The technology is so new that there are currently only a few sources providing the test, and even fewer are covered by insurance Plans and Medicare.

A directory of options is available at to help the patient and the doctor decide how to proceed. It has been predicted that within the next two to five years, all doctors will routinely include pharmacogenetic testing for every patient because of the critically important information it can provide.

Dr. Charles Gant, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally known author and integrative/functional medicine physician, addresses the root causes of chronic medical and psychiatric disorders, unique to each patient. For more information, call 888-727-6910 or visit


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