Understanding pharmacogenetics: Pharmacogenetics is the study of how variation in a single gene can impact on variability in the body’s response to one specific medicine (or group of medicines). Pharmacogenetics considers a person's genetic information regarding specific genes that control things like how drugs are transported and metabolized by the body, changes in these genes can affect how medicines function, making them effective or helping to predict which patients are more likely to suffer side effects. The goal of pharmacogenetics is to use a patient’s individual genetic information to inform the best choice and dose of medicine.

Understanding pharmacogenomics: Understanding pharmacogenomics: Pharmacogenomics is the study of how a patient’s genome can influence how they respond to medicines Pharmacogenomics is like pharmacogenetics, except that it typically involves the search for variations in multiple genes that are associated with variability in drug response.

Pharmacogenomics can examine the entirety of the genome, rather than just single genes, and can examine genetic variation among large groups of people within the population, for example to see how different drugs might affect different ethnic groups.

Both pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics support personalised healthcare where medication is tailored to the individual, considering the person’s particular genetic makeup.

Although a person's environment, diet, age, lifestyle, and state of health can also influence that person's response to medicines, understanding an individual's genetic makeup is key to selecting personalized drugs that work better and have fewer side effects.

For more information on genomics and its application within clinical practice, please visit the regional and national project pages on this website.