Affiliations: Department of Biological Sciences, Oakland University, Rochester, MI, USA
Note:  Address for correspondence: Dr. Barkur S. Shastry, Department of Biological Sciences, Oakland University, 48309, Rochester, MI, USA. Tel.: +1 248 370 3577; Fax: +1 248 370 4225; E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: Individual variation in drug response and adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are a serious problem in medicine. This individual variation in drug response could be due to multiple factors but there is strong evidence that genetic factors play a significant role in drug response variability and toxicity. Although substantial studies that link genetic variants to inter-individual difference in drug response in adults have been reported, such studies are comparatively rare in pediatric medicine. The ultimate goal of medical research is to improve human health in every disease and every patient. Many diseases such as asthma, autism, epilepsy, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder develop during childhood. Human development is a rapidly changing process. In children, there are differences in absorption, distribution, excretion and metabolizing capabilities of a drug compared with adults. Therefore, many pharmacological and toxicological actions of drugs in children are not predictable from adult experience. It is also possible that children may experience a different range of ADRs that may have long-term implications for their development. Therefore, an improved understanding of the drug transformation pathways for all age groups is necessary. Such studies could provide insight into the susceptibility of a child to ADRs. The availability of the complete sequence of human genome and the biochip technology may help in identifying the polymorphic variations in drug related genes. In this regard, pharmacogenetic and pharmacogenomic studies may play an important role in providing markers of increased risk or susceptibility. Based on this genetic information, children at risk can be identified before therapy is initiated and pediatric ADRs may be minimized. In this short article, an attempt has been made to emphasize the importance of pharmacogenomics in pediatrics.