The statistics are staggering: one in three people will experience pain at some point in their lives. And more than a third of people with chronic pain say it has affected their ability to work, go out and enjoy life, or take care of themselves and their families. Every day, millions of Americans take medications that can cause serious side effects if used incorrectly. say’s Dr Brian Blick, so what if there was a way to personalize treatments based on your unique biology?
“There are already many effective treatments for chronic pain,” says Dr. Gary Franklin, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
There are already many effective treatments for chronic pain, but they don’t always work. “There’s a better way to treat chronic pain,” says Dr. Gary Franklin, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
The new approach uses genetic information about individual patients’ physiology to create personalized medicine plans that can include medications or non-pharmacological therapies such as physical therapy or acupuncture–or even surgery if necessary. The results have been encouraging: A recent study found that people who had undergone this type of treatment were less likely than others with similar conditions (but who hadn’t received personalized care) to experience flare-ups after one year.*
“There is a better way to treat pain.”
There is a better way to treat pain. The right drug at the right time for the right condition, and the right drug for the right patient.
This requires a fundamentally different approach than what has been used until now: one based on genetics, not symptoms or disease labels.
“Algorithm that matches the right drug to the right patient.”
Genetic testing is the key to personalized medicine. It can help match the right drug to the right patient and identify patients who are more likely to benefit from a specific drug. For example, if you have a genetic mutation that causes your body not to produce enough of an enzyme called CYP2D6, then you may need higher doses of codeine-based pain relievers than someone without this mutation would.
“Using the right drugs at the right time for the right condition.”
Genetic testing can be used to predict which drugs will work best for a particular individual and help doctors avoid prescribing unnecessary drugs. This is important because one study found that about 30% of patients taking opioids for chronic pain actually have no benefit from the medication. This has led some experts to argue that genetic testing should be required before opioid prescriptions are written, although not everyone agrees with this approach.
The future of pain management is bright. We are closer than ever before to understanding and treating chronic pain with precision. The use of genetic information will allow us to develop more effective and targeted treatments, which will result in better outcomes for patients around the world.