Can genes help target opioid treatment for African Americans?

A Yale University study published in the journal of Molecular Psychiatry (January 24, 2017) found a genetic variant that could help to personalize the treatment of opioid addiction in African Americans.   

This study was limited to African Americans and found that a specific gene variant in that population could help determine more accurate dosing for methadone.   Methadone is both short acting and long-lasting, so correct dosing is very important.   Some people need a higher dose of Methadone for it to be effective, but that same dose could be potentially lethal for those who can only metabolize a lower dosage.

The holy-grail of genetic markers is still yet to be discovered.   We know that opioid addiction is more prevalent in certain families.   If specific gene variants can be identified, it may be possible for physicians to pre-screen patients for their likely addiction to prescribed opioids.  

This Yale study, focused on Methadone, does not impact MATClinics Suboxone patients directly, but its encouraging that medical researchers are working on identifying genetic markers associated with opioid addiction.