Erik Hefti, PharmD, MS, PhD
Erik Hefti, PharmD, MS, PhD
Erik Hefti holds a PharmD as well as a Master's and PhD degrees in pharmaceutical science from the University at Buffalo. His research focus is pediatric pharmacogenomic factors impacting cardiovascular toxicity following cancer chemotherapy and genetic testing utilization to optimize healthcare outcomes. He is currently practicing as a clinical pharmacist at Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus in Buffalo, NY.

2 Useful Pharmacogenomics Resources for Pharmacists

JULY 25, 2016
As personalized medicine gains traction and acceptance, pharmacists are more likely to encounter pharmacogenomic information.1
 
Staying up-to-date with pharmacogenomic recommendations, tests, and related information can be daunting to say the least. Not all practicing pharmacists have had didactic pharmacogenomics coursework, and few are likely to have had formal training in genetics.2 This can be problematic if a patient asks for assistance interpreting genomic test results or if another clinician asks for dosing advice in a patient with a polymorphic drug metabolizing enzyme.
 
Searching for pharmacogenomics information may not be as fast and easy as searching for other drug information in many cases. The issue is the lack of curated pharmacogenomics databases designed for clinicians. Primary research articles, while important, aren’t always the easiest information to read and interpret quickly.
 
Here are 2 excellent resources for pharmacists in need of relevant pharmacogenomic information:

1. The FDA List of Pharmacogenomic Biomarkers
This is a list of pharmacogenomic markers included in the packaging label of drugs currently approved for use in the United States. The FDA maintains this list, which is available online.
 
Clinically significant biomarkers, the associated drug(s), and where the biomarker is mentioned in the package labeling are prominently listed. Although it isn’t a comprehensive source of information, the biomarkers listed generally have clinical significance and can affect therapy. It’s a straightforward table that provides information quickly but lacks detail.
 
Overall, it’s a good place to begin when gathering potential pharmacogenomics information on a drug in question.

2. PharmGKB
This database is one of the most comprehensive sources of clinical pharmacogenomics information currently available. It’s funded and associated with the National Institutes of Health and has information relevant to health care practitioners and scientists alike.
 
What makes PharmGKB so useful is the variety of information available, especially the guidelines on the website. The Clinical Pharmacogenomics Implementation Consortium guidelines published on PharmGKB can assist in decision making when genomic disposition is known and may affect drug therapy. The clinical annotations of genomic variant-drug associations are stratified based on the level of supporting evidence, which makes evidence-based recommendations faster and easier to make.

There are other pharmacogenomics databases, but many are more useful to scientists and researchers than clinicians. As personalized medicine becomes more realized, genomic references are garnering more attention. Pharmacists will likely be at the forefront of genomic-based medication selection, dosing, and monitoring.1 PharmGKB and the FDA list of pharmacogenomics biomarkers represent 2 user-friendly, clinician-oriented resources offering practical pharmacogenomic information that may be useful in pharmacy practice.
 
References
1. ASHP. ASHP statement on the pharmacist’s role in clinical pharmacogenomics. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2015;72:579-581.
2. McCullough KB, Formea CM, Berg KD, et al. Assessment of the pharmacogenomics educational needs of pharmacists. Am J Pharm Educ. 2011;75(3):51.


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