A few years ago I went for DNA testing at DNAlysis, which gave me incredible insight into my health and health risks, and what I should do based on the indicators from these tests. I've never forgotten the feedback from those tests, and much of the advice I was given, I've kept in mind and followed through on (you can read more about my test here).
The DNAlysis team got in touch with me recently and offered me another of their tests – mygeneRx, which basically sees how your unique DNA affects your response to medication. Not everyone reacts to or metabolises medication in the same way, and this test can give you and your doctor insight into how you react to medicine.
You might be asking why on earth you would need a test like this, and it's something I asked myself too. Then I remembered how a few months ago I was very sick, when my newborn was a few weeks old, and the first round of meds didn't work, and so I had to go on another course of different medication. What if my DNA doesn't respond to the first type of medication, and I simply wasted time and money waiting for it to kick in, when it could never?
Even more scary, what happens if I one day am prescribed medication, and it has an averse effect and causes awful side effects? Therefore, I was quite keen to try it, just as a future "policy" and good-to-know. Many doctors are also finding value in this breakthrough test – it gives them foresight into what could potentially work, and what might not work, when medicating their patients.
More about mygeneRx
The test is non-invasive (a simple cheek swab) and the report from the test will provide a detailed breakdown of how your unique DNA affects the processing of medication in your body. This information can then be used tailor your prescriptions – and make sure medication you’re taking (if any now, or in the future) is suited to your unique physiology. You only have to take the test once.
Babies and children can also get the test done, and since DNA doesn't change, the results last for a lifetime, making this a long and important investment into their health and medical treatment.
mygeneRx reports on responsiveness to more than 150 medications, including many cardiovascular (e.g. blood pressure and cholesterol lowering medication), pain, gastrointestinal and psychiatric (e.g. antidepressant medications) medications.
Your report will only be released to a medical practitioner of your choice, who will contact you to discuss the report. The information supplied to you doesn’t confirm or replace any medical diagnosis or status conferred by a medical practitioner. Never amend or alter your prescription medication without consulting a healthcare practitioner.
How the test works
You can order the test via the mygeneRx site, and it will get couriered to you. You take a cheek swab (yup, it's just like in the movies), pop it into an envelope, and order a courier via the site who will collect it and deliver it to DNAlysis Biotechnology. You can keep the sample in the fridge for up to one week, until you’re ready for the courier to collect.
Your sample will be analysed by a team of medical scientists at DNAlysis Biotechnology. You’ll be notified when your report is ready and you can then schedule an appointment to have your results explained to you by an expert at DNAlysis Biotechnology (based in the Thrupps Centre, Illovo) or over the phone.
My report was emailed to me, with the option of sending it to my GP too. I declined, as I'll give it to my GP next time I see her, so that she can keep it on file. I'll also keep copies for any future consultations with specialists.
To be honest, I didn't really understand much of my report, but the point is that I'm not supposed to. Unless you're trained in medicine/pharmaceuticals, you're probably going to have no cooking clue what everything means.
Here's what part of my results looks like:
What I did do however was scan the "Use with caution" and "Consider alternatives" columns to see if there's anything I recognised from what I'm currently taking. With my very minimal knowledge, I wasn't able to find anything, but again, this is where chatting to someone from DNAlysis or your doctor comes in. No one expects you to be the expert, rather you're given tools that will help the experts prescribe smartly for you.
They say that knowledge is power, and I'm quite excited that I and my practioners have this knowledge in the form of science and a detailed personal approach, rather than the "one-size-fits-all approach, and the assumption that we will likely all respond to the medication the same way.I
At R3 500, it's not cheap, but then nor is spending money on medication that might not do anything for you, or worse – do some harm. You *only* need to take one test in your life, and you're armed with info forever.
For more info, go to mygerneRx. To follow DNAlysis, find them here: