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Pharmacogenetic and pharmacogenomic approaches are already utilized in some areas, such as oncology and cardiovascular disease, for selecting appropriate patients and/or establishing treatment and dosing guidelines. This is not true in asthma although many patients have different responses to drug treatment due to genetic factors. Areas covered: Several genetic factors that affect the pharmacotherapeutic responses to asthma medications, such as β2-AR agonists, corticosteroids, and leukotriene modifiers and could contribute to significant between-person variability in response are described. Expert opinion: An expanding number of genetic loci have been associated with therapeutic responses to asthma drugs but the individual effect of one single-nucleotide polymorphism is partial. In fact, epigenetic changes can modify genetic effects in time-, environment-, and tissue-specific manners, genes interact together in networks, and nongenetic components such as environmental exposures, gender, nutrients, and lifestyle can significantly interact with genetics to determine the response to therapy. Therefore, well-designed randomized controlled trials or observational studies are now mandatory to define if response to asthma medications in individual patients can be improved by using pharmacogenetic predictors of treatment response. Meanwhile, routine implementation of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics into clinical practice remains a futuristic, far-off challenge for many clinical practices.


Maria Gabriella Matera, Barbara Rinaldi, Luigino Calzetta, Mario Cazzola. Pharmacogenetic and pharmacogenomic considerations of asthma treatment. Expert opinion on drug metabolism & toxicology. 2017 Nov;13(11):1159-1167

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PMID: 28992739

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