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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Pharmacogenomics?

How does a pharmacogenomic test work?

Based on your genetic results, you will receive notifications about the potential effects of the medications covered by the test. With these notifications, your doctor will be able to know if dose adjustments should be considered for certain medications and if others are less compatible for you, i.e., they may be less effective or cause unwanted side effects.

DNA is the source of all the proteins that make up our bodies, including the therapeutic targets of drugs and the enzymes that process them for easy removal. Therefore, variations in our DNA code influence the effects of medications. By looking closely at the DNA code, it is possible to better predict the optimal doses, effectiveness, and risk of adverse effects of medications.

What are the benefits of taking the Biron Pharmacogenomic Test?

The genetic data collected can guide your doctor towards the best treatment options and avoid prescribing drugs that are less compatible for you, thereby reducing your trial-and-error process with different treatments and speeding up your recovery.

Do all medications have dosing recommendations?

No, only certain medications will have dose recommendations and these recommendations are dependent on your results. In some cases, you may be advised to avoid using the drug, use it with caution, or use it as directed on the drug label.

Do I have to stop taking my medication to take the test?

No. Taking any prescribed or non-prescribed product will not affect the pharmacogenomic test. In any case, it is not recommended to stop or modify your current treatments without the approval of a healthcare professional. It is therefore advised to continue your treatments as recommended by your healthcare professional.

Since when does Biron offer pharmacogenomic testing?

Biron has been a leading healthcare provider in Quebec since 1952. In 2018, Biron joined forces with BiogeniQ, a company specializing in genetics that was founded in 2014.

How the Biron Pharmacogenomic Test Works

What type of sample do I need to provide for this test?

We need a simple saliva sample to perform our analysis (about 1mL is enough, less than a teaspoon).

If a patient drinks coffee, can he or she take the test?

It is important not to drink, eat or smoke 30 minutes before providing the sample to ensure that the saliva is clear. You should also wait 30 minutes after brushing your teeth.

My tube looks too full, will it be okay for the test?

Make sure the amount of saliva is close to the lines shown before closing the lid which will release the blue liquid. When the blue liquid is added, the tube should be ¾ full. If there is too much saliva for the amount of stabilizing fluid, your sample will no longer be good when it arrives at the lab.

Can my sample be affected by temperature during transport?

No, the liquid in the top portion of the tube keeps the DNA in your saliva intact despite temperature variations.

What is the minimum age to perform a pharmacogenomic test?

There is no minimum age to perform a pharmacogenomic test, however, we recommend that you take the test once the medical condition to be treated has been diagnosed.

When will I receive my results?

You will receive your results within 10 business days from the time your sample is received at the Biron laboratory.

How will I receive my pharmacogenomic report?

You will receive a secured link by email to log into your results portal where you’ll be able to download your report. A copy will also be faxed to your attending physician, if requested when ordering your test kit.

Do I need a prescription to do the pharmacogenomic test?

No, but we recommend obtaining one. In addition, with a prescription, sales tax will not be charged. The words "Pharma Profile", "pharmacogenomic test" or "genetic analysis for medication" as well as your diagnosis(es) (e.g. ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, etc.) must appear on the prescription for it to be valid. A prescription written for a specific medication (ex: Ritalin) is not valid.

Some insurers may require a prescription for reimbursement of your test.

Why is it important to share my results with a healthcare professional?

While a pharmacogenomic test helps predict how you will respond to different medications, there are many other factors that also play a role. By having access to your results, your healthcare professional will be able to put them in context with your overall health, allowing for better decision making.

How much does the Biron Pharmacogenomic test cost?

The PGx test costs $349+tx for Mental Health (Psychiatry and ADHD) OR Pain Management. You can combine both profiles for $499+tx.  

Is my test covered by my private insurance?

Coverage for genetic testing depends on your private insurance and plan. A prescription may be required. If so, make sure your prescription states "pharmacogenetic test" or "pharmacogenomic test".

If you have a health spending account in your insurance plan, you may be able to use this account to cover the cost of this test. We recommend that you contact your insurance company for more information about your coverage.

Concerns and safety

Is my genetic data secure?

Your genetic data is encrypted on multiple levels and stored on Canadian servers that meet or exceed the strictest security standards. Biron protects access to your genetic data by letting you control who can access your information.

Will you share my results?

Your results will never be shared with a third party without your consent. Whether it's your doctor, your insurance company or your family, your consent will always be sought.

Will you share my genetic results with my insurance company? Will they deny me or increase my premiums?

If an insurance company asks you if you have had a genetic test, you are not required to answer. You can refer them to the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act (S.C. 2017, c. 3).

Will I learn about genetic diseases with the pharmacogenomic test?

No, this test is not a diagnostic analysis for diseases. Rather, it is a decision support tool to optimize the treatment of a condition with medication.

Will the test examine my entire genome (all of your DNA)?

No. We do not sequence your entire genome as this method would give us too much information that we do not need. We use a technique called "genotyping" which consists of analyzing only the parts of your DNA that we need to produce our report. Our tests are pharmacogenomic analyses that aim to tell you which medications among a fixed list are potentially at risk of adverse side effects or therapeutic failure, based on your genetics.

Therefore, we do not test for rare or hereditary diseases or do genetic sequencing.

Test Reliability

How long are my results valid for?

Your results are good for life. Since your genetic code does not change, your results will be the same whether you take the test at the age 7 or 70. However, science evolves, and it is possible that the interpretation of your results will change over time. If this is the case, your report will be updated at no additional charge, to ensure that you and your doctor have the most current and scientifically sound information possible. Additional charges may apply if further genetic testing is required.

Where do the recommendations of the Biron Pharmacogenomic test come from?

The recommendations included in our reports are supported by peer-reviewed scientific publications. Some recommendations may also come directly from clinical guidelines, drug labels issued by Health Canada and other organizations such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Biron ensures that the information in your report comes from credible scientific sources that are experts in the field.

Why does the report indicate "no marker available" for some medications?

Of the 145 drugs evaluated by Biron's Pharmacogenomic test, 16 are marked as such. Nevertheless, we include them because they are among the drugs used in mental health and pain management. We conducted a literature review and determined that, for the time being, no PGx recommendation can be made. It is important for the physician or pharmacist to know that the drug has been evaluated and not forgotten. In the future, as science advances, recommendations may be added for these medications.

Are your test results guaranteed?

Since many factors influence the response to medications, following the recommendations in your report will not completely eliminate the possibility that your body may not respond optimally to certain medications. By following the recommendations in your report, you will reduce your risk of unwanted side effects from medication and increase your chances of getting effective treatment.
The report contains an interpretation of the results based on independent scientific studies and guidelines. The genetic analyses from which recommendations are made are validated and 99.99% reliable. Validation of a laboratory analysis is done using control samples with known results.