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Article
August 1963

Pharmacogenetics: Heredity and the Response to Drugs.

Arch Intern Med. 1963;112(2):288-289. doi:10.1001/archinte.1963.03860020186029

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Abstract

There will come a time when our present assessment of drugs will have lost some of its smugness, and the teaching of pharmacology will be altered to encompass a newer concept. That concept has to do with the fact that a genetic anlage, or diathesis, modifies the action of drugs. This is the field of pharmacogenetics—the term is new—the phenomenon is old.

Yet, pharmacogenetics will not solve all or even most problems connected with drugs. In fact, it rather recognizes the existence of problems in the aberrant reaction to drugs. Its main thesis is that conditions genetically determined can modify the classical or well-known action of drugs, altering their metabolic conversion, degradation, or rate of excretion, thus influencing the effect and the the toxicity of such drugs in genetically susceptible individuals. This is far beyond the simple concept of allergy.

Certain inborn conditions are known to make individuals more resistant

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