Consortium studies gene-drug relationship to determine optimal warfarin doses

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If Julie Johnson had her way, doctors would check a patient's genes before writing a prescription. Everyone responds differently to medicines—one that works for you might not work for me, or it could even be harmful. These individual responses depend to an extent on our genetic make-up.

Johnson, a clinical pharmacist at the University of Florida, studies this gene-drug relationship, known as pharmacogenetics, with a focus on cardiovascular diseases. Her research is supported with taxpayer dollars from the National Institutes of Health.

Johnson recently helped spearhead the International Warfarin Pharmacogenetics Consortium, which includes researchers on four continents. Warfarin (trade name Coumadin) is widely used to prevent blood clots. It's challenging to prescribe because the ideal dosage for each person varies widely and is hard to predict. The consortium developed a way to use genetic information from patients to help doctors better determine optimal warfarin doses.


National Institutes of Health


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