As we all know, not everybody responds the same way to the same medication, regardless of the disease or illness suffered.
This difference in response becomes more important, the more serious the disease is, or the easiest it is for a drug to cause undesired side effects (this is called a very narrow therapeutic margin).
This difference in response to the same medication within patients depends on the genetic make up of the patient.
Several genes are involved in the way the body metabolises a drug; therefore, the response to a specific drug depends on the variations between these genes on each person.
As a result, we find that the patients can be classified as poor metabolizers, intermediate metabolizers, efficient metabolizers or ultra rapid metabolizers. The first ones will take longer to process the drug and there will be a higher possibility of developing side effects, whilst the last ones will eliminate the drug so quickly that a normal dose may not produce any therapeutic effect at all (or the effect will be lower than expected).