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Keywords:

  • chronic kidney disease;
  • drugs;
  • nephrology;
  • pharmacogenetics;
  • pharmacogenomics

Summary

Although notable progress has been made in the therapeutic management of patients with chronic kidney disease in both conservative and renal replacement treatments (dialysis and transplantation), the occurrence of medication-related problems (lack of efficacy, adverse drug reactions) still represents a key clinical issue. Recent evidence suggests that adverse drug reactions are major causes of death and hospital admission in Europe and the United States. The reasons for these conditions are represented by environmental/non-genetic and genetic factors responsible for the great inter-patient variability in drugs metabolism, disposition and therapeutic targets. Over the years several genetic settings have been linked, using pharmacogenetic approaches, to the effects and toxicity of many agents used in clinical nephrology. However, these strategies, analysing single gene or candidate pathways, do not represent the gold standard, being the overall pharmacological effects of medications and not typically monogenic traits. Therefore, to identify multi-genetic influence on drug response, researchers and clinicians from different fields of medicine and pharmacology have started to perform pharmacogenomic studies employing innovative whole genomic high-throughput technologies. However, to date, only few pharmacogenomics reports have been published in nephrology underlying the need to enhance the number of projects and to increase the research budget for this important research field. In the future we would expect that, applying the knowledge about an individual's inherited response to drugs, nephrologists will be able to prescribe medications based on each person's genetic make-up, to monitor carefully the efficacy/toxicity of a given drug and to modify the dosage or number of medications to obtain predefined clinical outcomes.