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When you have a mental health condition such as anxiety and depression, chronic pain, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or a neurological condition, finding the right medication can be tough. Sometimes it’s a process of trial-and-error. It may even involve unwelcome side effects.
Personalized Medicine is about learning how your genetics can affect your response to medication. And it might be included in your benefits plan.
If you’re about to start or currently using drugs to treat a mental health condition, chronic pain, ADHD, or a neurological condition, Personalized Medicine could help your doctor prescribe the best drug for you.
It involves a pharmacogenetic test. This is a type of test that identifies how you may respond to medications. Your test results are only for you, Personalized Prescribing Inc. – A Canadian company that run the test, and anyone else you give consent to share it with, such as your doctor.
To do the test, you submit a small saliva sample. A pharmacist from Personalized Prescribing Inc. will look at your genetics in the sample and create a report for you and your doctor, should you consent to share your results with them.
This report shows which drugs are more likely to help and which may have side effects. It may also recommend changes to your medication. Your doctor can use these results to help prescribe the right drug for you at the right dose.
Your DNA contains the blueprint for all the proteins in your body, including enzymes. Enzymes are very important in how your body reacts to medicine. The activity level of these enzymes varies from one person to the next. This is one of the main reasons why a drug may work well for one person but have significant side effects for another.
By understanding your genetics, Personalized Prescribing Inc. aims to predict the activity level of the enzymes in your body and your brain. And this means Personalized Prescribing Inc. aims to determine how compatible your body may be to a particular drug.
Personalized Medicine can help people get the right medication earlier and get back to living a healthier life sooner.
Medication can help mental health issues and chronic pain. But some of these medications can cause adverse side effects. Others aren’t very effective for some people. Genetic differences can play a big role.
There are an estimated 200,000 severe adverse drug reaction in Canada each year, though it is estimated that 95% of adverse drug reactions are not reported. Each year, they cost the Canadian healthcare system between $13.7 and $17.7 billion each year and kill up to 22,000 Canadians.1
Over the past 2 years, we ran a Personalized Medicine pilot program. After getting their results, 44% of people in the program changed their medication or dosage.2 These changes led to better health outcomes.
1 Adverse drug reaction Canada, May 2020.
2 Manulife pharmacogenetics pilot program – 2018-2020
The test may be covered for you and your family under your group benefits plan. But there are a few rules for coverage. First, not all plans cover the test. You can check the learning centre on your group benefits account to find out if yours does cover it.
Second, you must have active extended health care coverage for it to be covered (e.g., if you opted out of extended health, the test would not be covered).
The test is only covered for certain conditions:
- a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety
- chronic pain
- neurological conditions
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
And the test is only covered for people who are:
- starting a new medication, or
- taking a medication that isn’t working, or
- taking a medication that’s causing side effects
Before you order a test, we recommend speaking with your doctor.
To check your Group Benefits account, sign in at manulife.ca/signin. Under the Learning centre, check for information about Personalized Medicine.
Ordering your test kit
- Go to www.personalizedprescribing.com/manulife
- Answer the eligibility questions.
- Pay for the test online. Be sure to save your receipt.
- Submit a claim to your group benefits. Include your receipt with it.
A pharmacist will reach out
Personalized Prescribing Inc. will have one of their pharmacists get in touch. The pharmacist will:
- help you fill out your consent form
- ask you about any relevant health history
- answer any questions you have
Taking the test
Within about 2 days, the test will arrive in the mail by courier. The test has instructions on what to do and how to send it back.
It takes about 7 days for you to get your results. Your results will be available through Personalized Prescribing Inc. online portal.
When your results are ready, Personalized Prescribing Inc. will email you. The email will explain how to sign in, see your results, and set up a call with a Personalized Prescribing Inc. pharmacist.
Results are confidential
These results are only for you, Personalized Prescribing Inc., and anyone else you give consent to share it with, such as your doctor. At no point will Manulife have access to your individual results unless you provided consent to share this information.
A Personalized Prescribing Inc. pharmacist can meet with you and your doctor or specialist to talk about results and treatment.
If you changed medications because of your test results, and you share this with your Personalized Prescribing Inc. pharmacist, they will be in touch with you. They’ll ask how you’re feeling and if you have any side effects.
Your test result may show that a change in your medication (dose or type of drug) could be suitable. So we strongly encourage you to share your results with your doctor. But you aren’t obligated to. Your version of the report won’t have any specific recommendations for changing drugs. These will only appear in the healthcare provider’s version. Only a doctor or pharmacist should make decisions related to changing medication.
Personalized Prescribing Inc. encrypts and stores your data on servers in Canada. These servers meet or exceed strict security standards. Personalized Prescribing Inc. protects your data by letting you control who can see it. At no point will Manulife have access to your individual results unless you provided consent to share this information.
At this time, your plan may cover the test for mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, chronic pain, neurological conditions, and ADHD. If you are interested in other Personalized Prescribing Inc. tests, you may talk to a Personalized Prescribing Inc. representative directly. They can discuss the cost with you.
Note that Manulife benefit plans won’t pay for other tests from Personalized Prescribing Inc.
No. Without your consent, Personalized Prescribing Inc. won’t share your individual results with anyone else. So, neither your employer nor Manulife will see them. Taking part in this program is voluntary. It won’t affect your current or future claims with Manulife.