Prescription pain-relievers can be powerfully effective agents in the treatment of moderate to severe pain; however, these drugs are also strongly associated with drug abuse and addiction. In the brain, opioid analgesics bind to various receptors in the mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic pathways, which play a multifaceted interaction of role in reward. Several specific single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have been identified as potential genetic factors that increase an individual's risk for addiction; however, confounding studies and lack of large trials prohibit definitive conclusions from being drawn. As a result of genetic testing, federal and state laws have been enacted to protect individuals from discriminations. As more definitive evidence becomes apparent, a large impact on pharmacy practice is expected.
Trimble AN, Jones DN, Salvino CL, Milks MM, Kisor D. Genetic Predispositions to Opioid Addiction, Legislative Action and Implications to Pharmacy Practice. PAW Review. 2012 Jul 01; 0(2):Article 5 28-33 . Available from: https://digitalcommons.onu.edu/paw_review/vol0/iss2/5. Free full text article.