Therapy Optimization through Pharmacogenetics testing. How does TOM’s community health depend on their genetics?

The response rate of patients to medication ranges widely by therapeutic class, from 80% for pain killers to 25% for oncology therapeutics [1]. In addition to this, side effects due to medication therapy vary widely, estimated to occur in more than 2 million events in the US each year and result in over 100 000 deaths annually [2]. The difference in drug metabolism (pharmacokinetics) and drug response (pharmacodynamics) are the main factors influencing these high-occurring numbers.

Recent advances in science have discovered that our genes affect how we metabolize and respond to different medications, determining whether we heal or get sicker when following a therapy. For this reason, companies have started to develop pharmacogenetic testing, where patients get informed on which drugs are effective for them and which don’t base on their genetics. Having this information beforehand increases the likelihood of therapy success and actual benefits from taking medications.

Currently, doctors prescribe drugs based primarily on patients› age, weight, sex, liver, and kidney function. However, think of the times that you had to call your doctor/pharmacist and ask whether the symptoms you were having were a common side effect of this drug or not? Can you think of how it would feel to take a drug and be sure it will really work for you? I bet it would feel great and knowing whether the drug really works for you can be a reliving experience.

This vital information can be easily discovered with a non-invasive pharmacogenetic test. Pharmacogenetics testing offers the clarity that allows doctors to match the right drug with the correct dose for the right patient. It optimizes treatment outcomes for patients by avoiding adverse effects and maximizing efficacy.

Nowadays, pharmacogenetics testing is routine for conditions like as example cancers, depression, cardiovascular diseases and pain. However, the Food and Drug Administration, the authority for monitoring drug safety in the US, has a list of more than 140 medications for which pharmacogenetic information is known [3]. These drugs are currently daily prescribed for treating conditions in neurology, rheumatology, infectious diseases, haematology, pulmonary and endocrinology and dermatology.  

TOM establishes a partnership with INTLAB (Sonogen)

Patients in the TOM community daily take medications for the diseases described above. Thus, fulfilling our mission to make patients healthier, we believe it is our duty to draw attention to the importance of pharmacogenetics in increasing the well-being of TOM users.

For this reason, TOM has partnered with the company INTLAB AG, which is active in Switzerland, Germany and Austria and specializes in pharmacogenetic testing. With just a saliva test, you can be tested for 106 drugs and get a statement of whether these drugs are effective for you or not. This empowers your treating physician and pharmacist to provide the current best-fitting medication.

Therefore, we invite you to download the TOM app and discover the offer for Pharmacogenetic testing in TOM, available in Switzerland and Germany. We will there provide more detailed information on the topic of pharmacogenetics and real-life examples of the pharmacogenetics importance in improving our quality of life. 

In Switzerland, this test is reimbursed by the leading health insurance company Helsana, which reimburses 90 % of the maximum test costs of CHF 450 (applies to Helsana policyholders who have taken out the PRIMEO supplementary outpatient insurance product). Unfortunately, it is the only insurance company until now, but other insurance companies will probably follow through once they realize its importance. Nevertheless, this price is minimal compared to the value it brings, so patients can also get self-tested and be prepared for any occasion that might arise itself in the future.


TOM Family

[1]. Spear, B. B.-C. (2001). Clinical application of pharmacogenetics. Trends in Molecular Medicine 7, 201-204.

[2]. Lazarou, J. P. (1998). Incidence of adverse drug reactions in hospitalized patients: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. JAMA 279, 1200–1205.

[3]. FDA. (2014,b). Table of Pharmacogenomic Biomarkers in Drug Labeling. US Food and Drug Administration.