Predictive, Preventive, Participatory, and Personalized Health

Pharmacogenomic Testing and Antithrombotic Therapy: Ready for Prime Time?

David R. Holmes, Jr.


Pharmacogenomics is the study of an individual’s interaction with a specific drug based upon the genetic make-up of the individual. Pharmacogenomic testing can be a powerful tool in testing a drug’s potential efficacy and toxicity on an individual patient. For this tool to be used correctly, certain criteria have to be met. First and foremost is the strength of association between the genetic variation and the drug’s interaction. The predictiveness of pharmacogenomics for the individual patient must be factored in as well. If these criteria are not met, requiring pharmacogenomic testing is at best a waste of money and in some cases can endanger the patient’s life. Stent thrombosis is a serious and many times fatal outcome in a small minority of patients who have received drug-eluting stents. Here, we discuss a case in which the FDA issued a “boxed warning” about the use of the anti-clotting medication, clopidogrel, used to prevent stent thrombosis, the pharmacogenomic data available at the time the warning was issued, and the medical community’s response to the FDA’s warning. This article also discusses developments in the field of anti-clotting therapy since the FDA’s warning.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2013;4(1):e0005