FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Unfortunately, they don’t. An estimated 90% of prescription medications don’t work for 30-50% of us (Dr. Allen Roses, Worldwide Vice President of Genetics, GlaxoSmithKline, 2016).
Actually, none. Every prescription medication has some risks and a segment of the population that it does not benefit. The American Medical Association reports that genetics are relevant to 70% of all prescription medications, and certain variations can lead to adverse reactions, even in patients that have previously tolerated the medication well.
There is no risk for anyone using Parallel Profile™ as directed. One of our physicians specially trained in pharmacogenetics (the science of how medications affect individuals based on their genetics) will explain the Parallel Profile™. Then we’ll send you a special cotton cheek swab, which you return in a prepaid envelope. No needles!
Your genetics are critical to medication safety, but there are other considerations that only your personal physicians, who know you and your history, can include when deciding on changing medications or dosages. Don’t stop taking prescribed medications without first talking to the prescribing physician. Many require tapering off and stopping suddenly can be dangerous. We are available to help your physician understand your Parallel Profile™ results and incorporate them into your overall healthcare plan.
Yes. You can select which of your doctors (or all of them) get the results. It is not uncommon for a person with a specific genetic mutation to have more than one medication impacted and more than one physician prescribing those medications. It is especially important that all your medications be considered together, not for just any one specialty in isolation.
A Parallel Profile™ gives you information your current and future doctors need to keep you safe and design treatments that will work best for you. Taking an active role in understanding what’s best for you and the choices your doctor needs to consider, can improve the quality of the care you receive.
Yes. While we offer the Parallel Profile™ Select for a single medication and its alternatives, we recommend the that Parallel Profile™ Premium, which includes more than 950 individual medications and alternatives. Know more about the medications you are currently taking, and be prepared for the future and able to answer the critical question “do you know of any problems you have any issues with any medications?”
Your genetic profile does not change, however genetic science is advancing at a rapid pace, and genetic relevance to more and more medications is becoming available. Your Parallel Profile™ reflects what is known today, with our lab’s state-of-the-art equipment, you will only need to send the swab in once to have access to updates about the genes and medications included in your Parallel Profile™. As new genes are discovered, you will be alerted of their impact on each of our expanding list of medications.
Yes. Whenever there are alternatives for which scientific evidence is available, they will be included in your report.
Health care designed to work precisely for the specific individual. Knowledge of your genetics, your health status, and your behaviors are taken into consideration when designing treatments and preventive care for you.
Parallel’s certified lab analyzes the specific genes that determine how an individual will metabolize, absorb, and utilize specific medications. Depending on an individual’s genetic profile, a medication can be worthless, marginally effective, safe, risky, or even deadly. In many instances, a higher or lower dose is needed to deliver the optimal benefit which the test can identify. Of course, the Parallel Profile™ explains the PGx test results and provides a roadmap for understanding and helping you and your physicians understand what might work best for you.
Yes. Instead of doing a series of tests to monitor for blood levels liver enzymes and then adjusting your dosage over time, your Parallel Profile™ will help your physician understand how you are likely to respond and find the optimal dose much more quickly – getting you relief faster, while reducing your risk of more serious side effects.
Yes. Any commonly prescribed medication where scientific genetic evidence is available is included in your Parallel Profile™ and reports on additional medications are available and can be added as the scientific community confirms their reliability.
And, that’s not all. Our genetic information is extremely important, but there are other factors that can contribute to the risk of an adverse drug reaction (ADR) that your Parallel Profile™ results can help you and your physician avoid.
Many drugs cannot be taken in combination with other drugs or certain foods and drinks. They may interfere with, amplify their impact, or increase the risk of serious side effects. For example, a very common drug has moderate to severe interactions with over 3,900 other drugs – including many over the counter medicines. Your Parallel Profile™ gives you the interaction information on all the drugs you tell us you are currently taking or considering and the Parallel Profile™ Premium can provide you with the ability to check for interactions with them, new prescriptions and over the counter medications every time you need a new prescription, get a cold or your allergies or heartburn flares up.
No. The American Medical Association warns that genetics are relevant to 70% of the people taking prescription medications, and certain genetic variations can lead to adverse reactions, even in patients that have previously tolerated the medication well. Some adverse reactions can take place years after beginning a medication, and others may be the result of adding another medication to an individual’s medication mix.
You can verify that your medications or alternatives that treat the same condition are included, prior to purchasing a Parallel Profile™.
We recommend ordering the Parallel ProfileTM Premium, which includes the more than 950 medications with genetic implications that our labs currently test. This comprehensive panel can help protect you when you need a new prescription medication, have a sudden illness, emergency, or accident. And since the DNA profile of an adult don’t change, the value of the Parallel Profile™ Premium lasts for life.
Parallel Profile™ is valuable for most people, but not absolutely everyone. We will not order a PGx test for anyone who has had a liver, kidney, or colon transplant.
People with compromised kidney or liver function may have disrupted enzyme production despite their genetics. How you will process and clear a drug can be impacted to varying degrees, so a drug previously in the “green” or normal response zone may not be as safe or effective. Those in the “yellow” or risk zone may be higher risk and dosage recommendations may not apply. Those in the “red” or high-risk zone are still not recommended, so knowing your genetics is still valuable.
You can do the test at any age because your genetics don’t change from birth. Until about the age of 6 children’s liver enzyme activity is developing. Scientists understand the impact their variants will have once developed, it is not known how their variants affect them as they are developing. You can do the test at any age, and it will be fully applicable once they are about 6.
Likewise, people over 75 may experience slower metabolism, absorption, and clearance rates than their genetics would suggest. Your doctor may recommend liver function and kidney function tests to determine whether this applies to you. If your function is compromised, a drug previously in the “green” or normal response zone may not be as safe or effective. Those in the “yellow” or risk zone may be higher risk and dosage recommendations may not apply. Those in the “red” or high-risk zone are still not recommended, so knowing your genetics is still valuable.
Taking a large number of medications, even if all matched to your DNA, can be taxing to your liver function, putting you at higher risk for an adverse reaction. Matching your medications to your DNA may reduce your side effects and allow you to reduce the number of medications you are on.
Most people receive their DNA collection kit and Parallel Profile™ Drug Safety Guide within 2-3 days of their video consult with one of our physicians who is specially trained in Pharmacogenetics. We will let you know by email when it's shipped. Your full Parallel Profile™ with genetic results is normally received just 10-14 days after you return your sample.
Pharmacogenomics (PGx) testing and ADR prevention is new, so there is not a specific rule yet. However, administrators we have talked with agree that Parallel Profile™ meets the criteria for qualified medical expense: diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease, and it is ordered by a physician. Some interpret it as qualified because it’s a genetic test that identifies a defect. Others may not understand PGx and require additional documentation, so check with your plan’s administrator.
In some cases, a Parallel Profile™ or some of its component test(s) may be covered, however, the cost will often be below your deductible.
Your Parallel Profile™ is confidential, in keeping with the Federal HIPAA regulations for privacy of individual medical/healthcare information. Only you decide who else sees your Profile. We will not share anything identifying you in any way with anyone. Only you can share access to your Profile. Some people may elect to share some of their results with their personal physician(s), knowledgeable friend(s), family member(s), patient advocate(s) or caregiver(s), but that is a personal decision and we only follow your own personal directions.
Tips to Avoid Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs )
More than 350 Americans die every day and more than 7,400 are hospitalized from an ADR (Adverse Drug Reaction). They, and their families didn’t fully understand their risks or how to protect themselves. Here is some extremely important information and some very useful tips.
Find out how your individual genetic profile affects how your body will respond to many prescription medications and over the counter medications before you or someone you love gets hurt. Your Parallel Profile™ Premium can give you the most current information so you can learn which of more than 950 medications can help you, which can be dangerous for you, and which will be safe and effective. Your individual genetics can determine whether you need a smaller dose, a normal dose or a higher dose – the standard dose might not work for you or may be toxic.
Without a Parallel Profile™, your only option is trial and error. Be sure to carefully consider any medications that have been a problem for a family member as representing a potentially higher risk. Although this information may be only directionally helpful, since your own personal genetic makeup is as unique as your fingerprints.
Don’t assume a medication you have been on for months or even years is safe. That’s not necessarily the case. ADRs can happen after a long time, even if no other medication is added. When another medication is added, the risk is higher that the medication that was working fine before is now no longer safe.
Avoid exposure to any medications to which family members have had allergic or adverse reactions – it’s not uncommon for it to run in the family. Also, take caution with medications that include any substance to which you are allergic. Parallel Profile™ Select and Parallel Profile™ Premium can tell you what medications contain a medication you have reacted poorly to in the past, as well as medications containing any of the other ingredients in that medication – perhaps it was the medication that was the problem, or maybe it was an ingredient included in that medication.
Don’t just watch for the common side effects, but the uncommon and rare ones as well. Be vigilant. You can find this vital information in your Parallel Profile.
Take your medications on time and as directed. It matters. Make sure your doctors know everything you are taking.
Make sure you attend your appointments regularly, so your doctors can monitor the effects that you are experiencing.
People are often very surprised to know that a fruit, vegetable or juice can interfere with their medications, sometimes creating the same effect as skipping that dose. Make sure any over the counter medications or vitamins and supplements won’t interfere or interact with your prescription medications as well. You can find this information in your Parallel Profile.
Prescription medications and over the counter medications are combinations of two or more drugs, so when we take several medications, we may be receiving an unhealthy dose of a single ingredient. This is a very common error, but it’s important to make sure you aren’t duplicating or overdosing any medicines. Consider ordering Parallel Profile™ Premium, and check whenever you add or change a medication.
When your overall health changes or you have a new condition, medications that were safe and effective may become problematic. For example, a change in kidney or liver function can change your response to a medication. Parallel Profile includes information about conditions that are incompatible with each of your medications.
- Confirm you are the intended patient.
- Check your Parallel Profile to see if the medication is impacted by your unique genetics. If it is, see what alternative medications should be considered.
- Ask what the medication is and what it’s for. You can find this information in a Parallel Profile.
- Ask what the dose is. You can find the normal recommended dose and how your genetics affect the dose in your Parallel Profile.
- Ask how often you should be taking it and make sure you get it on time. You can find the frequency information in your Parallel Profile.
- Tell them all the medications you are taking and ask them to confirm if it’s okay to add anything new. You can find this information in a Parallel Profile.
- If it’s a medication you haven’t taken before, ask what are the common, uncommon and rare side effects to watch for. You can find this information in your Parallel Profile.
- Check if it has any ingredients you are allergic to or includes a medication you are allergic to or have had a bad reaction to in the past. You can find this information in your Parallel Profile.
- Remember to check your food tray. Don’t assume food and drinks that interfere with your medications won’t be served to you.
Generic medications are less expensive and have become very popular. When people switch to a “generic,” it may be a generic version of the brand medication they were on before, or it may be a generic alternative. They aren’t necessarily the same medication as the brand name for which they are substituted. They may contain the same, similar or alternative medication, and even if it’s the same drug, it may have different fillers, colors and preservatives. Therefore, when switching from a brand name to a generic medication, it’s important to be aware that how well it works for you, whether or not the same or a different dose is needed, and whether or not you might have a bad reaction may be different from the brand medication.
With Parallel Profile™ Premium you can check to see if it’s right for you. A lower copay may not be worth it.
In certain medications, such as those treating the thyroid, switching to a generic medication can cause new and even severe symptoms that may be misunderstood and misdiagnosed as a new condition. Patients who start on a generic medication may find it works very well, but the same patient if started on a brand name medication and then switched may need a higher dose or have problems. Watch for changes – even ones that seem unrelated. It may not be a side effect, but the result of being underdosed or overdosed.
National institute of General Medical Sciences:
Frequently Asked Questions about Pharmacogenomics
National institutes of Health:
What is Pharmacogenomics?
National institutes of Health, National institute for General Medical sciences, Medicines for You: Studying How Your Genes can Make a Difference
Personalized Medicine and Pharmacogenomics
Institute of Genome Sciences and Policy
University of Utah Genetic Science Learning Center:
Personalized Medicine (Pharmacogenomics)