What is Pharmacogenetics?

The terms of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics are generally used synonymously. However, on closer examination both terms differ from each other.

Pharmacogenetics considers the reaction of an individual body to a drug. This can be disturbed by changes (mutations) in genes involved in metabolism. Thereby pharmacogenetics helps to detect such changes and allows for an adequate and to the individual patient adapted therapy.

In contrast pharmacogenomics examines the interaction of several mutated genes on the metabolism of drugs. It is the interface between pharmacy and genomics. Thereby large population groups are studied, since some mutations occur with varying frequencies in different populations. Furthermore, pharmacogenomics analyzes the effect of certain substances on genes and their expression patterns, which in turn can affect drug metabolism. An aim of this research field is to identify new targets for drugs, such as mutated genes and their proteins.