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Viewpoint: PGx is one-time test that lasts a lifetime

PGx is the study of how a person’s genes respond to medications.

Julie Wharam Headshot.jpg
Julie Wharam is starting Do Life Health Personalized Precision Medicine out of her home in Thompson, ND.
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This viewpoint is to provide and clarify details regarding the business article published on July 3, headlined “Dr. Julie Wharam hopes to bring pharmacogenomics to mainstream Grand Forks region.”

Do Life Health is a pharmacy consulting business providing personalized precision medicine through pharmacogenomics (PGx) and nutrigenomics via telehealth.

I am the CEO/founder. I earned a doctorate of pharmacy, am trained in integrative functional “root cause” medicine and am certified in PGx.

PGx is the study of how a person’s genes respond to medications. Prescribers can use this tool to guide clinical decisions regarding combinations of medications and doses that are safe and effective based on the individual's genetic makeup.

The benefits from PGx testing are for everyone! But are recommended for those who themselves or family members have felt that medications are causing more harm than good, wonder if the many meds (polypharmacy) taken together are safe and effective, or have family history of or experienced side effects/allergies, medication failures or a new diagnosis.

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In fact, there are nearly 400 FDA approved medications that have pharmacogenomic information found in their drug labeling.

People not on medications can benefit from PGx by proactively predicting potential problems before they arise. This saves money, decreases time to achieve desired therapeutic outcomes, and increases both medication compliance and quality of life.

Mental health, cardiology, oncology, ADHD, pain management, and cannabis are areas where this technology has the most clinical evidence and CPIC- PGx actionable dosing guidelines; however, the benefits of PGx are not limited to these areas.

The DNA sample collection is quickly and conveniently collected in three simple steps. First, a kit will be mailed to the home. Second, apply the sterile cotton swab to the cheek to collect the sample. Third, place the swab in the provided packaging material and ship it back to the CLIA-certified lab using the prepaid label.

Lab results can take 10-14 days and are sent to me. Once results are in, PGx requires a comprehensive medication evaluation. This includes not only drug-gene interactions but drug-drug-gene interactions (phenoconversions) which can not be found on a lab report but by interpretation only.

The results will be discussed via a telehealth visit and also a team approach to healthcare is vital.Therefore, if consent is given a summary report will be electronically sent to the provider(s) of choice.

Whatever the results, remember it is essential that no medication changes are made before consulting with the prescribing practitioner.

PGx is a one time test that lasts a lifetime and can play an important role in identifying responders and non-responders to medications, avoiding adverse events, and optimizing drug dose.

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The PGx test kit and lab processing fees are covered by medicare and medicaid at no cost to the patient.

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