The Evolution of Precision Medicine in Pharmacy


Precision medicine in pharmacy has the potential to revolutionize patient care by optimizing drug selection, dosing, and monitoring.

Precision medicine, often known as personalized medicine, is a rapidly evolving medical approach that seeks to personalize health care by taking a patient's genetic, environmental, and lifestyle characteristics into consideration. In pharmacy, this approach involves the use of patient-specific information to optimize drug selection, dosing, and treatment monitoring.

Image Credit: Fabrizio -

Image Credit: Fabrizio -

This article explores the importance of precision medicine in pharmacy, highlighting its potential applications, advancements, future possibilities, and challenges. The combination of precision medicine and pharmacy practice has the potential to transform patient care by improving treatment outcomes, minimizing adverse effects (AEs), and customizing prescription regimens based on individual characteristics.

Precision medicine in pharmaceuticals holds great potential, but there are many challenges to overcome including ensuring data protection, cost and accessibility, and patient acceptance.

Applications in Precision Medicine

Pharmacogenomics is the study of how an individual's genetic makeup impacts how they respond to medications. Pharmacists can personalize treatment plans by using pharmacogenomic testing to identify genetic variants that affect drug efficacy and metabolism.1

Precision medicine in pharmacy involves therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM), in which drug levels are monitored in the patient's blood to ensure therapeutic concentrations are achieved. TDM can help to adjust the dose, especially of drugs with a narrow therapeutic index, to optimize drug efficacy and reduce AEs.2

As a result of precision medicine, targeted therapies have been developed that specifically target the underlying biological pathways of a disease. These treatments are designed to be more effective and have fewer AEs than traditional treatments.1

Advancements of Precision Medicine

Precision medicine has made tremendous progress in the field of oncology. Genetic tests can pinpoint specific mutations that drive tumor growth, making it possible to develop customized drugs that target cancer cells while sparing healthy organs.1 Pharmacists are able to identify resistant microorganisms and modify antibiotic regimens to improve the treatment of infectious diseases.

Pharmacogenomic testing can assist in identifying individuals who are more likely to experience AEs from specific cardiovascular medications, enabling the development of a personalized treatment approach.1 Precision medicine is being explored in the treatment of neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, for which genetic testing can assist in medication selection and dosing.

Future Prospects

As technology and research continue to advance, several major opportunities for the future of precision medicine can be predicted. As sequencing technologies and genomic research evolve, more genetic variants associated with disease and response to treatment will be discovered.

As our understanding of the human genome advances, a wider range of genetic markers will become available for precision medicine applications.2 As pharmacogenomic testing becomes less costly and more readily available, it will likely be a part of routine clinical procedures.

Genetic information will be used by pharmacists and health care professionals to guide medicine selection, dosage, and monitoring, improving treatment results and lowering AEs.1 Precision medicine in oncology will continue to move forward with the development of personalized immunotherapies.

These treatments will use the patient's immune system to selectively target cancer cells based on their unique genetic makeup, resulting in more effective and less harmful treatments. Precision medicine may eventually include preventative medicine, in addition to treatment.

A proactive approach can be taken to prevent or postpone the onset of a disease by identifying people who are more likely to develop a certain disease based on their genetic makeup, lifestyle choices, and environmental exposures.1

Challenges and Limitations

One of the major challenges facing precision medicine is the collection, storage and sharing of patient data, especially genetic information. Genomic data are extremely sensitive and can provide details about a person's origins, genetic makeup, and other distinctive features.

Building patient confidence and upholding moral and legal commitments are dependent on guaranteeing the privacy and security of such data. Advanced genetic testing and customized therapies are often used in precision medicine, but can be costly.

The cost of genetic testing may act as a deterrent against broader adoption, restricting access to populations of individuals who are financially or medically under-resourced.1,2 Patients' knowledge of precision medicine and its implications may be limited. Improving patient awareness and education about the benefits, risks, and potential outcomes of precision medicine is critical to fostering patient engagement and acceptance.

In conclusion, precision medicine holds immense promise in revolutionizing the field of pharmacy and transforming patient care. By leveraging patient-specific genetic, environmental, and lifestyle information, pharmacists can tailor drug selection, dosing, and treatment monitoring to optimize outcomes and minimize AEs.

As technology and research progress, the future prospects for precision medicine are bright, with expanded genetic markers, increased availability of pharmacogenomic testing, and personalized treatments for rare diseases on the horizon. However, challenges related to data privacy, cost, and patient awareness must be addressed to realize the full potential of precision medicine.

Through continued research, education, and collaboration, precision medicine in pharmacy has the potential to transform patient care, offering personalized and targeted therapies that improve health outcomes and enhance the quality of life for individuals around the world.


1. Beachy SH, Addie S, Wizemann T, Gee AW, Boname ML. Enabling Precision Medicine the Role of Genetics in Clinical Drug Development: Proceedings of a Workshop. The National Academies Press; 2017.

2. Prainsack B. Personalized Medicine: Empowered Patients in the 21st Century? New York University Press; 2017.

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