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Personalized Medicine 101

patient and provider going over options on phone

“Personalized medicine,” sometimes called precision medicine, is a relatively new model in the medical world that is opening up new possibilities for how doctors treat a variety of conditions. For many patients, personalized medicine may have a significant impact on their recovery and how they respond to treatment.

What exactly is personalized medicine, and how is it affecting people today? Learn more with this overview.

What is personalized medicine?

Many medical treatments use a one-size-fits-all approach that applies to an “average patient.” While these treatments are successful for some patients, they can be harmful to others – different patients can respond very differently to the same medicine. With this approach, doctors rely solely on trial-and-error to eventually find the best treatment for a patient.

Personalized medicine provides an answer to this problem, as it takes an individualized approach to treatment that takes into account a patient’s specific information, including genetic makeup, environment, medical history, and lifestyle. Genetic testing is frequently used in personalized medicine, as your DNA can play a significant role in how you respond to different medications. Because every patient is unique, personalized medicine can help provide individual treatment for each one.

What can it be used for?

Personalized medicine is currently being applied to a range of conditions and their treatments. These include cancer, heart disease, substance abuse, mental illness, and more.

How can it help?

Many people are frustrated when a treatment doesn’t work for them. For example, up to half of all patients struggling with mental illness respond poorly to the first psychiatric medicine they try, because everyone’s body is different. Personalized medicine can help reduce the time, cost, and struggle of finding the right treatment by trial and error and help you feel better. But that’s not all – learn about more benefits of precision medicine.

What is pharmacogenetics?

You may have heard the term “pharmacogenetics” in relation to personalized medicine.

Pharmacogenetics is the study of how genes affect a person’s response to drugs – while one person may respond well to a certain medication, another person may experience harmful side effects from the same medicine. It allows doctors to use a patient’s genetic information and their knowledge of pharmacology (the study of drugs) to help prescribe safe and effective medication and dosages that are specific to a person’s DNA makeup.

How does this affect me?

As personalized medicine is a relatively new model, its uses have not yet spread to all medical conditions. If you have a condition that more individualized medicine may help with, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you.

If you are struggling with a mental illness or your current psychiatric treatment, learn more about the Genomind Pharmacogenetic Test and fill out this sheet that will help you talk to your doctor about the test.

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