06 Nov Is genetic insight the greatest gift you can give your child?
From the time you first hold your child in your arms, you’ll do everything you can to protect them – and that includes shielding them from a range of illnesses. You’ll spend the first few years as a parent trying to find treatment that works best for your offspring when they’re sick, based on recommendations from your paediatrician.
But what if you could empower your specialist with deeper insights to inform your child’s treatment?
New advances in pharmacogenomics give parents access to an uninvasive DNA test that yields critical insights into how their offspring metabolise medication. And it’s likely the most important gift they’ll ever give.
Just for your child
Your child’s genetic make-up determines how they respond to medication – what dose they need and the side effects they’ll experience.
Medication therapy in children is a complex issue with limited information. Research shows only 25% of approved medications are suitable for pediatric use. Most is researched and labelled for use in adults. As a result, many indications and dosages are based on trial and error instead of proven studies.
Adults vs children
Child psychiatrist, Dr Sarvani Pather says every child’s DNA holds the key to the enzymes they produce, which is how they metabolise medicine. Some children may have a genetic variation that creates overactive enzymes and makes them ultra-rapid metabolisers of an ingredient. Others might metabolise medication far less expediently or intensively.
“One working example is in the case of a common painkiller, such as codeine, which is present in many cough and cold medications. For ultra-rapid metabolisers, an inappropriate dose means codeine is converted into morphine which can have negative side effects,” says Pather.
“These include sleepiness to the point of difficulty waking up your child, blueness around lips or mouth, confusion and interrupted sleep. For children who don’t metabolise medication as well, they won’t find pain relief and may be traumatised as a result.”
Tonsil and adenoid surgery are routine procedures for children – it’s thus critical, at this stage of their lives, to understand how they’re going to metabolise the medications they’re given.
Safe and effective treatment for the future
A simple cheek swab is the first step in unlocking your child’s DNA – and towards better treatment. As a parent, you can now access and order the mygeneRx test online, have it delivered to your door and conduct the test with your child. No needles and no hospitals.
It means better control of the medicine your child needs, informing the best health decisions throughout the lifespan. As medication and treatment becomes increasingly personalised, it’s the greatest gift you can give your child.
To speak to an expert about genetic testing for your child – and the power of pharmacogenomics for personalised medicine, visit www.mygenerx.co.za.