Genetic predisposition to adverse drug reactions in the intensive care unit.
Adverse drug reactions are a significant public health problem that leads to mortality, hospital admissions, an increased length of stay, increasing healthcare costs, and withdrawal of drugs from market. Intensive care unit patients are particularly vulnerable and are at an elevated risk. Critical care practitioners, regulatory agencies, and the pharmaceutical industry aggressively seek biomarkers to mitigate patient risk. The rapidly expanding field of pharmacogenomics focuses on the genetic contributions to the variability in drug response. Polymorphisms may explain why some groups of patients have the expected response to pharmacotherapy whereas others experience adverse drug reactions. Historically, genetic association studies have focused on characterizing the effects of variation in drug metabolizing enzymes on pharmacokinetics. Recent work has investigated drug transporters and the variants of genes encoding drug targets, both intended and unintended, that comprise pharmacodynamics. This has led to an appreciation of the role that genetics plays in adverse drug reactions that are either predictable extensions of a drug's known therapeutic effect or idiosyncratic.This review presents the evidence for a genetic predisposition to adverse drug reactions, focusing on gene variants producing alterations in drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in intensive care unit patients. Genetic biomarkers with the strongest associations to adverse drug reaction risk in the intensive care unit are presented along with the medications involved. Variant genotypes and phenotypes, allelic frequencies in different populations, and clinical studies are discussed. The article also presents the current recommendations for pharmacogenetic testing in clinical practice and explores the drug, patient, research study design, regulatory, and practical issues that presently limit more widespread implementation.
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