Doctors face the tough choice of giving emergency room patients painkillers. You may want to treat the pain, but you do not want to be responsible for that patient developing an addiction to opioids. Genetic testing for future opioid addiction may not work well in catching or preventing addiction but can be useful in deciding the best treatment options for you.

Genetic Testing Study

The University of Cincinnati and Ohio State University plan on launching a $1.6 million study on how genetic makeup might affect addiction. This study will recruit up to 1,500 emergency department patients with some of them having opioid use disorder and others with little experience with opioids. The test involves swabbing their cheeks and sending the genetic information to Michigan-based company Genemarkers for testing. The DNA will not be linked to the patient’s name and not used by the police. 

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yoast, the overseer of the project, is hoping this test can be the answer to why some people succumb to addiction more than others. People with a genetic predisposition to opioid use disorder might receive more counseling, follow-up appointments if they need to be on painkillers or might receive a different dose. 

Genetic Testing Cannot Catch or Prevent Addiction Before it Happens

Robert Parkinson, Director of Client Care at the Beach House Center for Recovery, believes that even if the results of the test were completely accurate, this test would do very little to encourage healthy lifestyles for those at risk. It can make you think that there is little in your control to get better if you are genetically told you will develop an addiction. A study at the University of Sydney said that their patients who had a gene for alcoholism felt that they were less in control of their drinking. 

Genetic Testing Can Better Inform Treatment Options

Parkinson does believe if the test had an algorithm if a patient is at “low risk,” “moderate risk,” or “high risk,” there would be a better chance of determining the right course of treatment for individual patients. It is important to remember that even if genetic testing is a success, it should not take the place of an addiction clinical test with a professional. With this new study, we have the chance to see whether or not genetic testing can be the answer we are looking for in predicting addiction in individuals.

Located in Georgetown, Texas, Alma Loma is a transformative living center to help those struggling in early recovery to transition out of our Psychiatric and Substance Abuse residential center. Alma Loma believes that addiction is born from an untreated mental illness in which our facility is here to help you. Our facility offers residency, medication management education, individualized treatment, life skills education, 12-step support, and more tools to bring patients the confidence to be able to live an independent life. For more information, please call us at 866-457-3843.