Medication Safety is Top Priority for NIH

Despite scarcity of funds, NIH announced generous awards that would allow medication testing using human tissue chips. In this unique system, human tissue is arranged on experimental framework material  to mimick interplay of various organs in a body, and determine safety of drugs under development.

This represents one of many advances toward safety and tolerability of medications. At the Over 50 fair today, I gave a talk on the genetic testing for the cytochrome P450 polymorphisms. This system is responsible for processing nearly all of the drugs that are used in clinical practice. The lecture was well attended, and numerous questions at the end were reflective of  the intense interest drug testing and safety generates. The test is performed by swabbing a Q tip inside a patient’s cheek. Results are available in about 2 weeks. Over 280 medications can currently be assessed for safety based on personal genetic variability of the cytochrome P 450 system.

So far, the “med-tuning” using the personalized genetic testing for common alleles of the P 450 system has exceeded my expectations. In one instance, a patient of mine on multiple medications was found to be hypotensive. I stopped one of his blood pressure drugs, and his blood pressure improved. When the genetic testing results became available, the discontinued drug was the safest one for him! I now have the opportunity to readjust his medications so that he achieves optimal blood pressure and heart rate control using the safest medications based on his genetic profile. In another instance, I stopped a water pill for a patient who became dehydrated in a hot climate. Before restarting it, I tested this patient’s P450 system. The drug appeared to be safe for him, and no substitution was needed. He was counselled to maintain his fluid intake in warm weather, and to resume this medications.

The genetic testing for medication safety is an important piece of the medications selection puzzle, and allows a truly personalized approach. Of course, it does not shed light on possible effects (and side-effects) of medications under extenuating circumstances such as diseased states, dehydration, fever. The tissue chip research supported by the NIH will add significantly to the understanding of complex organ- medication interactions.

I encourage all of my patients on at least one medication to have a genetic test for safety and side-effects profiles. All of my patients receive a color-coded hard copy of their results to use as needed during doctors appointments or hospital admissions. Over 100,000 deaths occur annually due to medication toxicity, and the annual cost exceed 182 billion. Medicare and most major carriers cover the test. I negotiated a significant discount for the test for those of our patients not covered by insurance. This simple test, performed once, may be a life-saver!

Let Your Genes Guide Us to Your Weight Loss Success!

The Fit in Your Genes Program is a ground-breaking approach to weight loss. It is based on individually designed, genetically-guided approach to nutrition, exercise, and micro-nutrient supplementation that allows sustained and reproducible weight loss result.

Three areas of focus

Unlike other approaches where counting calories, avoiding certain macro-nutrients ( think low-carbohydrates or  liquid diets) or performing aggressive exercise are required, this program is set to  individually tailor your efforts in three major areas responsible for weight loss:

DO: exercise type, frequency and duration

EAT: percentage of protein, fat and carbohydrate you should consume

TAKE: vitamins and supplements supporting weight loss

The test is completely bloodless, and is done by collecting cells from the inside of your cheek by rubbing it with a soft, cotton-tipped applicator. The testing involves FULL genetic sequencing, and results are available in 2- 3 weeks. We typically initiate a detox program while you are awaiting your results.

What are the “DO”, “EAT” and “TAKE” parts of the program?

The “DO” part provides a genetically guided advice on frequency and type of exercise that would benefit weight-loss effort. All of us have seen men and women who seem to exercise for hours on end yet their weight-loss is modest. Alternatively, we also encountered individuals who slim down nearly immediately with even a modest amount of exercise. The opinions on type, frequency and duration of exercise are varied. Even among the experts, disagreements abound, and clearly no one size fits all. The Fit In Your Genes Program tests for variations in 3 or more genes that determine our sensitivity to various types of exercise, and are useful in creating an individually tailored program that is specific to YOU. Thus, it is no longer necessary to wonder if you should be doing what another person is doing, or if you should be following a brand-new class, exercise, or routine. Rather, you can decide based on your personal genetic profile if a new exercise or class, or some of it features will fit well with your unique exercise determinants.


The “EAT” part is really the most impressive part of the program. One knows that there is no shortage of diet advice. At the ICCLI, we do not use “diet” as a word to describe what should be a live-long pattern of healthy eating. You can probably find a “diet” advice or program for every letter of the alphabet! And while some ways of eating (such as Mediterranean diet) are clearly proven to be advantageous not just for weight loss but also for reduction in cardiac events, again, no one size will fit all. A healthy way of eating needs to be individualized. The true power of genetic testing allows us to do just that. You will literally see down to a single percentage point what is YOUR specific, individual macro-nutrient requirement. No more need to avoid ALL carbohydrates, or to go extra heavy on proteins-genetically-guided program will allow you to eat according to your genes. We will craft a healthy and genetically-guided path to allow you to feel in control of your food intake, and to eliminate the “yo-yo” effect.

The “TAKE” part of the program is truly on a cutting edge. It allows to tailor supplements and vitamins to your specific genetic make up so that cravings and imbalances are reduced. If you have a sweet tooth, to paraphrase a famous saying, “there is a gene for that!” Once your genetic variability is known, we will provide an essential micro-nutrient support that would seal the success of your weight loss effort.