A genetic test that may help identify the right medication and dose for individuals will be offered by Chemmart stores throughout Australia from February.

The myDNA test identifies how a person’s body processes medications and may assist patients to personalise their approach to medicines. It recognises gene variations in enzymes that affect how the body processes up to half of all commonly prescribed medications.

In consultation with their pharmacists, the test involves collecting a DNA sample using a cheek swab. This is then sent to a team of expert doctors, pharmacists and scientists, with a report delivered via the pharmacist in a private consultation.

It has the potential to increase treatment benefits for people who take antidepressants and pain and reflux medication, says Chemmart.

Chemmart Executive Director Duncan Phillips says myDNA is now available in over 200 participating Chemmart pharmacies.

“We are excited to be one of the first to offer customers this innovative initiative that has the potential to transform treatments and health outcomes for many customers,” Phillips says.

“Your genetic profile plays a part in determining how your body responds to certain medications. By undergoing a simple test, you can identify the medications and doses that will work best for you and significantly improve your health and wellbeing. We expect that for some people this will be life-changing.”

Phillips says a collaborative service model is essential to the program, because when the results of the test recommend an adjustment to a certain medication or dose the pharmacist is to refer the patient back to their GP.

Australians with a history of not responding to common drugs, who are experiencing side effects from prescribed medications, taking multiple medications, proactively managing their health or taking blood thinners are among those most likely to find the test helpful.

It is also relevant for those who have children on prescribed medication.

myDNA’s Medical Director, Associate Professor Les Sheffield, says pharmacogenomics and precision medicine is being increasingly incorporated into clinical practice around the world.

“We have already seen so many amazing success stories in patients as a result of our test and this pharmacy program with Chemmart makes the benefits of pharmacogenomics testing much more accessible and widely available to the Australian public,” Sheffield says.

Two separate trials of the myDNA testing program, with Chemmart and Quality Pharmacy groups, showed that 43% of patients tested in pharmacy had a finding directly relevant to at least one of their existing medications.

Results from 4750 myDNA tests, previously known as DNAdose, already conducted in Australia showed 70% of myDNA tests produced a finding that could result in a change to a patient’s existing or future medications.

Chemmart was the first retail pharmacy to adopt the myDNA program, trialling it in 10 pharmacies across Victoria and New South Wales over two years. The service has shown to increase treatment success while decreasing adverse side effects and associated healthcare costs.