Are medications categorized as 'green' necessarily the best drug for me with no side effects?

Modified on Wed, 28 Jun 2023 at 01:08 PM

All drugs come with possible side effects, although some people will experience more side effects with certain drugs than others. Sometimes side effects are driven by gene variants you carry that result in your body being unable to process the drug as expected, while with some drugs side effects may still occur even if your body is processing the drug “normally”.

The goal of prescribing according to pharmacogenetic insights is to increase the likelihood that you will find treatment success faster (i.e. avoid multiple cycles of trial and error) while minimizing the chance of side effects. If a medication falls into the 'green' category for you, this simply means that we have not identified any gene variants that suggest that you will respond to that medication differently from most people/”he average person”. The standard precautions for the medications still apply, and it is still possible that you may experience some side effects. If a drug is categorized as 'green' it does not guarantee that the medication will work well for you, nor that it will not cause any unwanted side effects.

Another factor to consider is that pharmacogenetics is only one piece of the puzzle. We know drug metabolism is affected by many factors, such as smoking, diet, liver function, kidney function, age, gender, and other drugs. You and your health care provider(s) need to evaluate the whole picture to determine the best course of action in your care.

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