MetaMedical™ Solutions Inc

Study shows IDgenix test can help minimise drug interactions in elderly

US-based Castle Biosciences has presented new data showing its IDgenetix pharmacogenomic (PGx) test can be used to provide medication recommendations for patients with mental health conditions aged 65 years and older.

The data was presented at the 2024 American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP) Annual Meeting in Atlanta in 15-18 March. IDgenetix is a three-in-one PGx test that incorporates genetic information, drug-drug interactions, and lifestyle factors to help clinicians personalise medications for patients with mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, and other neuropsychiatric illnesses.

“Pharmacogenomics has been increasingly used to identify genetic variations associated with drug response; however, its potential in older adults who are more likely to be on multiple medications and experience adverse drug events has not been fully explored,” said Dr Robert Cook, senior vice-president of research and development at Castle Biosciences.

Elderly patients often have co-morbidities and are prescribed multiple medications, which can increase the chances of drug-drug interactions, and adverse drug reactions. In the US, the elderly population (aged 65 years and older) comprise 14% of the total population but accounts for over one-third of outpatient spending on prescription medications. Furthermore, adverse drug reactions are estimated to be 5% to 28% of acute geriatric medical admissions.

The study that analysed 737 elderly patients with a variety of mental health disorders found that 58% of patients were taking an average of seven medications at the time of testing. All the patients in the study had genetic polymorphs that could impact medication selection, with the drug-gene interaction accounting for 66% of all medication recommendations by IDgenetix. Drug-drug interactions and lifestyle factors accounted for 27% and 7% of the medication interactions, respectively.

Genetic testing is a growing area of research. There are more than 500 products in development for genetic testing, according to GlobalData. Of these, 279 are in the late stages of development, with GlobalData predicting these to gain approval within the next decade.

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Companies such as 23andMe have also invested in obtaining regulatory approval for their genetic testing products. In September 2023, the company received 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to include an additional 41 variants of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes as part of its BRCA1/BRCA2 (Selected Variants) Genetic Health Risk Report.

The US-based company also received the first-ever Predetermined Change Control Plan (PCCP), which allows 23andMe to add other validated BRCA1 and BRCA2 variants and associated cancer risk information to its BRCA Genetic Health Risk Report without the need to obtain premarket reviews.

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