Inter-Relationship of Pharmacovigilance, Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacogenomics

Dr. S. Z. Rahman

Introduction: The terms pharmacogenomics and pharmacogenetics are used interchangeably. However, a precise, consensus definition of both the terms remains elusive. Pharmacogenetics is generally regarded as the study of genetic variation that gives rise to differing response to drugs, while pharmacogenomics is the broader application of genomic technologies to new drug discovery and further characterization of older drugs. Pharmacogenetics considers one or at most a few genes of interest, while pharmacogenomics considers the entire genome. Much of current clinical interest is at the level of pharmacogenetics, involving variation in genes involved in drug metabolism with a particular emphasis on improving drug safety. While, Pharmacovigilance is the pharmacological science relating to the detection, assessment, understanding and prevention of adverse effects, particularly long term and short-term side effect, of medicines. It is gaining importance for doctors and scientists as the number of stories in the media of drug recalls increases. The relationship between phamacovigilance and pharmacogenetics/genomics might be the result of plasticity, that is the ability of a drug to alter gene expression, either rapidly or over time, reversibly or permanently. While individual genetic make-ups may play a role in drug responsiveness, long-term changes in genetic expression profiles may also play a role in the continued effectiveness (or safety) of a drug.


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