This medical video looks into ways to match the drugs you take to the genes you have.
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Jennifer Matthews: Nine-year-old Darcy is a curious little girl. She loves checking every nuance of her pet hermit crabs. But this typical little girl was anything but a year ago. Sherry Whitehead: She was a monster child. She threw temper tantrums. She yelled, screamed, didn't do anything. She just stopped functioning and just started throwing fits. Jennifer Matthews: The problem was Darcy's epilepsy medication. Her doctor tried a new medicine that worked much better. But the whole episode could have been avoided with a new scientific concept called pharmacogenetics. Medicines are prescribed based on genetic matching. Tracy Glauser: Our current service examines four common genes that are responsible for the metabolism of 37 different drugs. Jennifer Matthews: Doctor Tracy Glauser helped found the genetic pharmacology service at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. With a simple blood test, he can determine which medication is least likely to have bad side effects for the patient. It's critical information for doctors. Tracy Glauser: In a study done in 1998 published in JAMA, 100,000 people a year died from adverse drug reactions. Jennifer Matthews: And another two million patients, like Darcy, become ill from those reactions. Fortunately for Darcy, she's back to her old self and doing much better in school. Her mother says her little girl is back. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.