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New study finds no benefit to selecting dose of blood thinner based on patients' genetic makeup
Date:11/19/2013

DALLAS A new study led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has determined that a gene-based method for selecting patients' doses of the popular heart medication warfarin is no better than standardized dosing methods. The study was presented today at the 2013 Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association and published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"There has been much interest in the medical community about the utility of pharmacogenetics using information about a person's genetic makeup to choose the drugs and drug doses that are most likely to work well for that particular person to help better personalize treatments for patients and improve drug safety and efficacy," said lead study author Stephen Kimmel, MD, MSCE, professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Penn Medicine. "Warfarin therapy has served as a model for the promise of a gene-based approach to patient care, but we needed a large, prospective clinical trial to determine if a patient's genetic information provides the added benefit above and beyond what can be obtained simply with clinical information."

Warfarin is a blood thinner used to prevent clots and is generally considered to be a very effective medication, but dosing must be properly adjusted for each patient, who are closely monitored for complications. Approximately 2 million Americans, primarily older patients, take warfarin to keep blood from excessive clotting, or coagulation. Currently, doctors face major challenges in determining the right dose of warfarin for each patient because individuals vary widely in how quickly their bodies' break down and respond to the drug. Taking too much warfarin could result in bleeding problems and taking too little warfarin will not stop clots from forming.

Previous research has shown that two genes, CYP2C9 and VKORC1, which vary among different individuals, can influence warfarin's eff
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Contact: Jessica Mikulski
jessica.mikulski@uphs.upenn.edu
215-796-4829
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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