by: Alexandra Limon, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News Updated:
SEATTLE - Imagine knowing exactly how your body specifically will react to a medication before you take it. A new test called YouScript claims to do just that.
It's been in the works for a dozen years, and it was launched for the public Wednesday.
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Alexandra Limon talked with one patient who said the test saved her in more ways than one.
Elise Astleford said she has a long history of bad reactions to medicines, ranging from hallucinations to deep depression.
She used to schedule days to test new drugs.
"And I felt like it was Russian Roulette. So in 2005, I sent off my DNA and my prescription," Astleford said.
She sent them to Genelex, the company that developed a groundbreaking test called YouScript.
Astleford was an early user, and she learned her body breaks drugs down differently from other people.
The test is now available to the public and it's pain-free for patients.
It's a simple test. It starts with a check swab. Then your DNA is sent to a lab where tests are done to see how you react to the drugs you take.
"Most people don't know that adverse drug events are the fourth leading cause of death. They claim one life every five minutes in the United States," said Kristine Ashcraft, COO of Genelex.
The company said YouScript is typically covered by most insurance and Medicare, and will save lives and money by preventing certain problems.
The problems include "bad side effects, treatment failure, toxicity, that can from drug interactions or drug gene interactions," said Howard Coleman, Founder and CEO of Genelex.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans have abnormal reactions to drugs. This test will figure it out before they have problems like Astleford did.
She began showing signs of Alzheimer's and dementia. Thanks to YouScript she learned that an antihistamine was the cause.
"All of a sudden, I realized I wasn't an old lady that was destined for a nursing home," Astleford said.
Test results are kept in a file to be used whenever a patient gets a new prescription.
You can ask your doctor for the test or order it yourself online.
For more information, go to www.YouScript.com or call 800-TEST-DNA.