Precision Medicine: Poised to Transform Addiction Treatment?

One of the most promising advancements in healthcare is the use of precision medicine. Using the results of genetic and molecular profiling, clinicians can optimize the therapeutic benefits of medications and other treatment protocols. Oncologists, for example, can assess the patient’s specific genetic mutations and recommend therapies tailor-made for their condition.

And, addiction researchers are expanding this concept to improve the health outcomes of individuals seeking sobriety.

Recently, scientists at Yale University identified a gene variant that can help clinicians prescribe the optimal dose of methadone. While methadone is one of the most commonly used treatments for opioid abuse, there are health risks involved. Armed with a better understanding of how much or how little to prescribe, clinicians are better positioned to help patients recover.

According to Henry Kranzler, director of the Center for Studies of Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania and a co-author of the study, “If you could specify beforehand what a person’s likely needed dose would be you could avoid the risk of either undertreating them, or overtreating them.”

In the paper recently published in the journal of Molecular Psychiatry, researchers explored one curious aspect of addiction treatment. Specifically, why some patients require much higher doses of methadone to curb cravings and withdrawal symptoms. While the underpinnings of the correlation at not yet known, the scientists identified a specific gene variant that influences the patient’s optimal therapeutic dose during addiction treatment.

“Most addictive disorders are genetically complex disorders, which means that they are the result of many different genetic variants,” said Henry Kranzler, director of the Center for Studies of Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania and co-author of the study. “We don’t even know the number of genes that are involved, but it is likely to be dozens.”

Given the current opioid epidemic, the expansion of precision medicine for addiction treatment may serve as one of the most powerful tools we can use to stop it from claiming more lives. At Infinity Malibu, we look forward to seeing even more research dedicated to advancing the efficacy of customized addiction treatment.

Residential Drug and Alcohol Treatment

At Infinity Malibu, our credentialed addiction professionals provide cutting-edge treatment for substance abuse, co-occurring conditions, and coexisting behavioral disorders. After completing sub-acute detox, patients make themselves at home in our amenity-rich residence, where they receive unhampered access to clinicians and therapists. From daily reflections and process groups to 24/7 support during times of crisis and self-doubt, our program is designed to guide men and women along a path to a future of lasting change. To speak with a member of the Infinity team or inquire about insurance coverage for your stay, call (888) 266-9048 to learn more about Infinity Malibu.





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