Potential use of auxiliary labels to promote patient awareness of pharmacogenetic testing

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Date: Mar. 2015
From: Pharmacogenomics(Vol. 16, Issue 4)
Publisher: Future Medicine Ltd.
Document Type: Report
Length: 2,131 words
Lexile Measure: 1700L

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Author(s): Susanne B Haga aff1 , Jivan Moaddeb aff1

Keywords:

drug labels; patient education; pharmacogenetic testing

In this paper, we consider the advantages and disadvantages of using an auxiliary label for pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing to promote patient awareness. Auxiliary labels are typically used to highlight key information about medication use or risks. If information about PGx is displayed prominently on the medication container, this may motivate patients to consult with a pharmacist and/or contact their health provider to inquire about testing. Through a simple label, the patient becomes empowered to ask and acquire the knowledge that may improve treatment decisions and outcomes.

With the increased understanding of the impact of genetic variants on drug response and subsequent development of clinical PGx tests [1 ], increasing patient awareness and understanding about testing will be important, yet challenging. Numerous patient education resources are available to help patients learn about their prescribed medications. However, some patients struggle to identify and understand their medication regimens and risks due to inadequate health literacy and numeracy, language, reduced cognitive ability in elderly patients, medication complexity and polypharmacy [2-4 ]. Patients are likely to be unfamiliar with PGx testing. Furthermore, the complexity of test outcomes and recommendations, as well as the limited amount of information about testing currently available for patients, may pose challenges to patients' understanding. Thus, new educational strategies or integration into existing strategies are needed to promote patient awareness of PGx testing. In this paper, we consider the use of auxiliary labels as a tool to promote patient awareness of PGx testing.

Patient education for prescription medications

Following the initial patient-provider discussion about a new medication, several forms of printed information are typically disseminated to the patient. If the patient is seen in a clinical practice with an electronic health record, a printout may be given to the patient that includes the drug name and other related information. When the drug is dispensed at the pharmacy, a consumer medication information (CMI) printout or a product monograph is typically enclosed in or stapled to the prescription bag and includes the brand/generic name of the medication, manufacturer, pharmacologic class, indications, dosing, warnings/precautions, interactions, adverse reactions and how the medication is supplied. Monographs may be particularly important for patients obtaining medications through mail-order pharmacies, since the pharmacist is only accessible by phone for further information about the medication. CMI is developed by private vendors under the guidance of the US FDA [5 ] and sold to pharmacies, though the content may differ between vendors. In Europe, the leaflets are developed by the drug manufacturer and must comply with content standards established by the EMA [6 ]. Some FDA-approved literature is required to be dispensed with certain medications. For example, patient package inserts for two types of drugs, oral contraceptives and estrogens, are required to be distributed with the prescribed medication. Some types of medications are required to have a medication guides to inform patients about important facts, risk of adverse events and/or instructions for use [7 ].

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A416964376