Drugs that help Scots may hurt the English
16.07.25: A NEW antidepressant has been launched in Scotland but there are no plans to make it available in England.
Xenodene is especially effective on people with Celtic ancestry, explains Vivian Western of ImGen. However, a small proportion of Anglo-Saxons can suffer unpleasant side-effects.
This is the latest in ImGen's Ethnics, a range of drugs aimed at people of different ethnic backgrounds. "Each ethnic group shares certain genetic mutations which mean they respond badly to some drugs and better to others," said Western. By screening the genes of people who have suffered bad side-effects, ImGen has been able to pinpoint the mutations that show who is likely to be at risk.
When you take a drug, it is ultimately broken down by certain natural chemicals in your body. Just one group of enzymes, known as cytochrome P450, is responsible for handling about 20% of all commonly prescribed drugs. If you have a mutation somewhere in the two genes that make those enzymes, it can mean you'll react badly to some of those drugs. Targeting drugs in this way has been a great success. The number of deaths from drug side-effects, which was running at 100,000 a year in America 25 years ago, has been halved and the turnover of drugs companies has soared. Certain drugs have now been reintroduced at a profit, such as the appetite suppressant dexfenfluramine, which had been withdrawn because a small percentage of the population suffered serious side-effects. All drugs must now come with a side-effects warning plus details of the genetic markers of those who are likely to suffer from them. JB