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November 2001

Pharmacogenomics and Dermatological Therapeutics

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore (Dr Lowitt); and the Divisions of Clinical Pharmacology and Dermatology, Sunnybrook & Women's College Health Sciences Center, University of Toronto Medical School, Toronto, Ontario (Dr Shear).

Arch Dermatol. 2001;137(11):1512-1514. doi:10.1001/archderm.137.11.1512

Advances in the understanding of the structure and function of the human genome offer an opportunity to reexamine some old questions about the interplay between genetics and individual reactions to drugs. Pharmacogenetics examines questions related to individual variations in drug efficacy as well as drug toxicity. Why is it that a drug affects one individual in one way, while it may lead to a more blunted or a more dramatic therapeutic effect in another individual, or cause a serious untoward reaction in another? Why is it that the same drug can affect a person in one way on one occasion, but in a different way at another point in time? Although exogenous factors such as concomitant viral infection and multiple drug interactions may account for some variation in drug response, genetic variability in drug metabolism, drug clearance, or end-organ effect, accounts for much of the variation that previously was considered to be "idiopathic."1,2

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