MyRx, a new UF Health service developed by pharmacists in the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, has launched to provide patients with a convenient way to understand their pharmacogenetic test results and improve drug therapy.
The program arrives at a time when studies show 9 out of 10 people have variations in their genes that may change how they respond to common medications.
Pharmacogenetic testing helps clinicians and patients understand why certain people do not respond to or have side effects from certain medications. The test looks at specific genes to help predict the types of medications and dosages that may be best for a patient.
Drugs commonly affected by pharmacogenetic influences include depression, anxiety, pain and heart medications.
“Pharmacogenetic testing is a great opportunity to improve drug therapy; however, the biggest challenge is understanding the test results,” said Kristin Wiisanen, Pharm.D., director of MyRx, a clinical professor and associate dean for entrepreneurial programs in the UF College of Pharmacy, and associate director of the UF Health Precision Medicine Program. “We established MyRx to provide patients a resource to get more information about drug response. If someone has trouble with medication or is confused about why a drug may not be working for them, then this could be a beneficial service.”
Patients participating in the MyRx service first will need to complete pharmacogenetic testing. The simple, non-invasive cheek swab can be ordered from MyRx or the patient can provide results from a previous test conducted at an approved lab. A clinical pharmacist with specialized training in pharmacogenetics will review the test results and the patient’s medication history before hosting a video consultation.
During the 30-minute consultation, a MyRx pharmacist will walk a patient through their test results and explain what they mean for their current drug regimen and the implications for future drug therapy. The pharmacist will answer any questions and develop a specific medication plan to share with the patient’s doctor.
“We are here to educate, inform and empower patients to optimize their drug therapy,” said Emily Cicali, Pharm.D., the clinical director of MyRx and a clinical assistant professor in the UF College of Pharmacy. “At the end of the visit, we will provide the patient’s doctor with a complete consultation note. Patients then are encouraged to reach out to their physician to determine if any medication changes are recommended.”
UF Health’s MyRx service is based on science and backed by UF College of Pharmacy pharmacists and researchers leading the latest clinical and research advances in pharmacogenomics. For more than a decade, UF Health’s Precision Medicine Program has been at the forefront of genomic medicine implementation and testing and contributed to a growing evidence base in support of genotype-guided therapy. More than 10,000 pharmacogenomic tests have been completed across the health system, and the addition of MyRx expands testing access to a larger population.
“MyRx allows us to reach patients outside of UF Health and share the knowledge and information we have learned about pharmacogenetics over the past decade,” Wiisanen said. “This is a rapidly developing area of science and medicine, and we’re excited to offer patients a way to become better informed about their medications.”
Initially, MyRx is only available to those living in Florida or New Jersey, but plans are underway to expand the program nationally in the coming months. The service welcomes self-referrals as well as physician referrals and plans to partner with pharmacies interested in providing pharmacogenetic testing. Visit myrx.ufhealth.org for more information.