Which contraceptive is best for you? Precision medicine could provide the answer


Approximately 900 million women around the world use contraceptives. It’s a shame that, even with the best available evidence and resources, an unacceptable ambiguity about side effects is the standard.

Personalized medicine could be the key. Pharmacogenomic research is starting to reveal how genetic differences influence people’s unique responses to specific medications. The FDA has assembled a list of 214 drugs with pharmacogenomic biomarkers in their labeling. While the oncology and psychiatry sections are relatively hefty (68 and 30 drugs each, respectively), there’s just one contraceptive, Yaz (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol), on that list.

If pharmacogenomics tackles contraceptive drugs in a big way, users would be empowered to choose the right contraceptive options for them, the ones they can best tolerate. It would provide a definitive answer to “How will this play out for me?” rather than the shrug of shoulders most women receive.

Related article:  We can’t embrace machine learning in healthcare without ‘serious vetting’ of the underlying data

Imagine hearing from your doctor or logging in to a private portal to discover that a hormonal IUD will be 99 percent effective for you, and it will increase your appetite and stop your monthly menstrual periods. And that the pill will be 91 percent effective for you, and give you clearer skin.

Greater precision won’t cure any side effects from contraceptives, but it would dispel ambiguity about them.

Read full, original post: Could precision medicine help women choose the contraceptive that works best for them?

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