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Back to the future

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Sometimes we think our pharmacy degree is old and outdated from what we learn at university to working in the real world. One particular example is the university module, ‘extemporaneous formulation’, which although was a lot of fun, is not really used in practice. I read an article in the PJ called, ‘Pharmacy and personalised medicine — “back to the future” pharmacists,’ by Dave Sharma which did show me that my initial thoughts could be wrong.

The future of pharmaceuticals is personalised medicines since standardised drugs do not necessarily have the exact same effect in different people due to genetic variation. A good example of this is Herceptin which has been shown to work better in patients with an over expression of HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2).

Pharmacogenomics is the term used to describe the research behind personalised medicines and the idea is that it could minimise adverse drug reactions and improve treatment effectiveness. It uses the knowledge of gene expression which can determine how well a patient will respond to a drug and so strives to perfect prescribing for patients according to their genetic makeup.

If medicines are to become more personalised then it may be necessary for pharmacists, in the future, to once again make up drugs in the pharmacy with specific ingredients for the individual patient.

 

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