Drug Safety

, Volume 25, Issue 8, pp 553–560

Genotyping of Drug Targets

A Method to Predict Adverse Drug Reactions?
Leading Article

DOI: 10.2165/00002018-200225080-00002

Cite this article as:
Güzey, C. & Spigset, O. Drug-Safety (2002) 25: 553. doi:10.2165/00002018-200225080-00002


In the last decades, advances in molecular biology have led to modern pharmacogenetics, which started as a science that focused on investigating drug metabolising enzymes and genetic determinants of pharmacokinetic variability. As more evidence has become available on the structure of drug targets and the genes coding for them, increasing attention has been directed towards pharmacodynamic explanations of variability in therapeutic response as well as in the risk for adverse drug reactions.

Traditionally, genetic drug safety research has focused on variations in single genes whose functions are known to be related to given adverse drug reactions. A few such examples, malignant hyperthermia, the long QT syndrome, venous thromboembolic disease, tardive dyskinesia, and drug addiction, are presented in this article. In the future, results from the Human Genome Project together with tools such as DNA microarray technology, high-output screening systems and advanced bioinformatics, will permit a more thorough elucidation than is currently possible of the genetic components of adverse drug reactions. By screening for a large number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), SNP patterns associated with adverse drug reactions can be discovered even though the functions of the SNPs as such are completely unknown.

On the basis of these findings, it can be expected that pharmacogenetic research will identify situations where a drug should be avoided in certain individuals in order to reduce the risk for adverse drug reactions. If so, it will be feasible to use molecular diagnostics to select drugs that are safe for the individual patient.

Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical PharmacologySt Olav’s University HospitalTrondheimNorway

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