Gene test helps refine warfarin dosage

Doctors, sharpen your pencils. The tricky job of setting warfarin dosage could soon be reduced to a gene test and a standard formula, the Associated Press reports. In a new study, scientists were able to devise a dosing formula for the blood thinner, based on a genetic test, the patient's age and weight, and other factors. Including the gene test made dose calculation more accurate than simply considering patient characteristics, the study showed.

As you know, warfarin is one of the few drugs that carry an FDA recommendation for genetic testing. That's because patients with a particular gene variant are much more vulnerable to bleeding side effects. Dosages for those patients can be much, much lower than for patients without that genetic variation.

The next step is testing the newly devised formula in another clinical trial funded by the feds. It's designed to be a three-year, 1,200-patient study starting in April.

- read the AP story