Can Smokers Benefit From Personalized Medicine?

Can Smokers Benefit From Personalized Medicine?

05.17.11 | By Kate Connors

A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - though not an easy read, admittedly - gives hope to some smokers by finding that a genetic variant may make it easier to quit smoking (Time translates it for those who may want a more-readable version).

While it piqued my interest because it's no secret that smoking can be a factor in worsening the chronic diseases that account for 75 cents of every healthcare dollar spent in the U.S., it actually ends up making an interesting point about personalized medicine.

Time writes: "For smokers, genetic information could ultimately help determine which medications are most likely to help them quit." For those who possess the genetic variation, basic nicotine replacement may be enough to help them kick the habit; for the majority of smokers without the variant, prescription smoking cessation medicines may be in order, the article says.

Personalized medicine often is associated with certain cancers, but this is a sign of how the practice of medicine may continue to grow in unexpected - and incredibly exciting - ways as we continue to develop our genetic understanding. After all, this is a way in which personalized medicine could help to keep us healthier.

And in the meantime, according to our new medicines database, four potential new medicines are currently being studied for smoking cessation, in addition to those already on the market.

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