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Frequently Asked Questions | Overview

How is pharmacogenomics testing completed?

Our pharmacogenomics panels require a simple 5 mL blood draw that can be coordinated at your convenience. The sample must be drawn at a Boston Children’s Hospital laboratory. The results are returned to the CPS team for interpretation and discussion.

How many visits should I expect if I am seen through the CPS clinic?

Typically, patients are seen in the outpatient setting twice.

  • During the first visit, the details of the tests are described, including what results can be expected, any limitations to consider, and potential associated costs. We learn about our patient’s medical history, with a focus on medication use and response. If it is decided that testing will be pursued after these points have been discussed and any questions addressed, written consent is obtained and a lab blood draw is coordinated.
  • Once the sample has been analyzed and results are available for review, we ask that patients return to clinic for a comprehensive discussion of the implications of these results.
  • Additional visits are possible should a patient or family feel they need further guidance or the evidence associated with existing results change drastically. However, this is not typical.
How long does it take to get results from a pharmacogenomics test?

We generally recommend that patients plan to return to clinic approximately six to eight weeks after the blood sample has been drawn for a thorough discussion of results.

How much will pharmacogenomics testing cost?

Many insurance providers are covering the cost of the pharmacogenomics panels. This will be discussed in detail at the first clinic visit. If cost is a primary concern, we highly recommend you work with your insurance company to ensure coverage before proceeding with any pharmacogenomics testing. We are happy to assist in this process. You can contact the Clinical Pharmacogenomics Service at 857-218-4637.

Will I learn about my risk for cancer and other diseases by completing this genetic test?

The panels we order are targeted, which means that they are designed to look specifically at genes relating to medication response and do not actively look for risk of disease. Should something be detected that is unrelated to medication response, patients are able to choose as part of the consent process prior to testing whether or not they would like to be informed of the findings.

How will my providers be made aware of my pharmacogenomic testing results?

Clinically relevant results are included in a clinic note that is available to you to provide to any doctors you wish. It is also posted in the medical record for providers within Boston Children’s Hospital to see. Additionally, certain results are incorporated into your/your child’s medical record that will alert providers and pharmacists who prescribe medication orders affected by that particular genetic result. For providers outside of Boston Children’s Hospital, patients are encouraged to share print outs or electronic copies of results as noted above.

How will I be able to access my results?

In addition to a printed summary provided at the second clinic visit, patients can review their results in the comprehensive clinic note posted in their chart via the MyChildren's Patient Portal.