ROCHESTER, Minn. — What Karen Daggett didn’t know almost killed her. The medicine she relied on to control an irregular heartbeat wasn’t working and hadn’t for years and she didn’t understand why pain medication never seemed to make her feel better. She also had a history of not tolerating some over-the-counter medications. Silently, these drugs were building up in her system, causing harmful side effects until DNA testing at Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine showed some medications were incompatible with her genetic makeup.
“My husband and I were out for a Valentine’s Day dinner with a number of other couples, and I began to feel so ill that we had to leave and rush to an emergency room,” says Daggett. “The doctor told my husband that it was good he brought me in when he did, because my body was shutting down. He said even 12 hours later I would have died. DNA testing at Mayo Clinic showed that I had a genetic defect that meant my body wasn’t properly processing some drugs. That was causing potentially deadly side effects to certain drugs. And medication I needed to control my heart disease wasn’t helping me at all.”
Daggett’s physicians used pharmacogenomics testing to help her. Pharmacogenomics is the individualized medicine practice of using a person’s genetic profile to help prescribe treatment that’s most likely to be successful. What she learned prompted many in her extended family to get tested and adjust their medications.
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“This type of individualized medicine has saved so many lives in my family,” continues Daggett. “I’m alive today because of it, and I feel great.”
Her story may raise awareness of an issue that is more widespread than most people realize. The RIGHT Study, done at Mayo Clinic, found that 99 percent of all patients studied had a genetic variant that impacts the way the body processes common medications.
Daggett will be at the Individualizing Medicine 2016 conference at the Mayo Civic Center. She is available for media interviews Oct. 5-6. The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine is hosting the Individualizing Medicine conference with support from the Satter Foundation.
About Center for Individualized Medicine
The Center for Individualized Medicine discovers and integrates the latest in genomic, molecular and clinical sciences into personalized care for each Mayo Clinic patient. For more information, visit mayoresearch.mayo.edu/center-for-individualized-medicine/.
About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing. For more information, visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/about-mayo-clinic or https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/.