New DNA test could help prescribe more effective medications

Posted at 4:34 AM, May 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-11 09:40:10-04

A majority of Americans use some sort of prescription medicine on a daily basis but how can you be certain the medicine will work? In some cases, the answer is in your DNA. 

Robert Hnizdil has been coming to Abrazo Arizona Heart Hospital for a while and credits the staff for keeping him alive. He's almost 90 years old but he's also on nine prescription medications after having heart problems.

"Are they working?" asked Hnizdil. "Are they not working? Maybe I shouldn’t even be taking something." 

Now he will be able to find all of that out. Abrazo is using a new DNA test called IDgenetix. Before this test it was literally trial and error. 

"When we put a patient on a medication we have no idea how they're going to respond," said Tammy Querrey, the Director of Cardiovascular Centers of Excellence at Abrazo.   

With the test, each cheek is swabbed for 60 seconds. Doctors will then get a DNA analysis to see how the patient's body will react to about 200 different medicines. 

"We can definitely determine if they need a dose adjusted by this or if they should even be on the medication to begin with," said Querrey.

The test is painless and quick. The results should come back in two weeks.