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Drug-gene compatibility testing should be considered an essential standard of care in long-term care and retirement communities

·4-min read

As highest users of medications, Inagene Diagnostics reports seniors have the most to gain from genetic testing that can help ensure safe and effective drug prescribing

TORONTO, Oct. 01, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The past year has highlighted the vulnerability of our seniors and the need to evaluate opportunities to better safeguard their health, especially those living in long-term care. As the biggest users of prescription and over-the-counter medications, this population is at a significantly higher risk for adverse drug reactions (ADRs) and interactions. To combat this serious issue, today on National Seniors Day, Inagene Diagnostics Inc., a Canadian pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing provider, is calling for genetic testing to be considered an essential standard of care for seniors in long-term care & retirement communities.

ADRs are a significant cause of morbidity, mortality, and health care costs and are the number four cause of death in Canada.1 Older individuals are at particular risk due to polypharmacy (taking multiple medications), co-morbidities and a host of age-related variables that alter drug absorption and metabolism. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, 61 per cent of residents in Ontario long-term care homes are taking 10 or more different prescription medications concurrently, putting them at heightened risk of adverse effects and drug interactions.2 Seniors are five times more likely to be hospitalized due to ADRs, which are responsible for nearly 30% of hospital admissions of elderly patients, and they can have significant detrimental impacts on quality of life over the short and long term.3

“Seniors, especially those living in long-term care, face a number of challenges when it comes to their medications -- from proper adherence to drug interactions with negative side effects,” said Dr. Paul O’Brien, a doctor with over 30-years’ experience working in long-term care. “There’s an opportunity for us to think differently about how we provide personalized care to our seniors and use the latest science to evolve how we support this vulnerable population.”

The gaps in elder care have been laid bare by the pandemic, bringing renewed attention to the need to establish better standards of care. While there are many different elements of long-term care that may need to be considered -- from staffing to facility maintenance and more -- taking a holistic approach will enable the best possible experience for residents. Now, as the Health Standards Organization and the Canadian Standards Association are developing new standards to improve long-term care in Canada over the coming months, advancements in genetic testing that can provide data-driven direction on the most effective and safe drug protocols must be considered as part of the complete picture.

“Genetics play a significant role in an individual’s response to a drug. With innovations in genetic testing, a relatively inexpensive, one-time cheek swab test empowers care providers to side-step the risky and outdated ‘trial and error’ method of prescribing, and proactively map what drugs and doses will be most successful for each resident,” said Nancy White, CEO of Inagene Diagnostics Inc. “Incorporating PGx testing into standard care could greatly improve the quality of life and health outcomes for seniors, create clearer pathways for effective and safe treatments, and reduce the likelihood of adverse drug reactions or interactions.”

Studies have shown that PGx testing has the potential to reduce strain on the entire healthcare ecosystem, allowing staff to focus on resident care and well-being, with thousands of dollars saved in wasted drugs and significant reductions in emergency room visits and hospitalizations. This challenge needs to be addressed now to protect the growing number of aging Canadians. By 2030, the number of Canadian seniors will be nearly one in four, with many relying on long-term care at some point.4

To learn more about pharmacogenetic testing, visit Inagene.com

About Inagene Diagnostics Inc.
Inagene™ Diagnostics Inc. is a CLIA accredited Canadian pharmacogenetic testing company located in Toronto. Inagene’s Personalized Insights™ tests focus on providing comprehensive and reliable genetic tests to guide drug selection and treatment. Learn more at www.inagene.com

Note to Editors:
For further information please contact:
Samantha Campana, Agnostic
scampana@thinkagnostic.com

1: https://adrcanada.org/
2: https://secure.cihi.ca/free_products/Drug_Use_in_Seniors_on_Public_Drug_Programs_2012_EN_web.pdf
3: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7230415
4: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/seniors-action-report.html


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