Stroke Treatment Customization: The Role of Pharmacogenetics

BioCertica Content Team

Stroke is a major health concern both globally and particularly in regions like South Africa. It occurs when blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off, either due to a clot (ischemic stroke) or a burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke). The World Health Organization (WHO) cites it as a leading cause of disability and death worldwide. Moreover, according to a source, it kills approximately 25,000 people annually in South Africa and causes disability in 95,000 persons each year​​. The variation in individual responses to stroke medications necessitates a more personalized approach to treatment. 

Understanding Stroke and Its Conventional Treatment

Stroke treatment is diverse, often involving anticoagulants, antiplatelet agents, and blood pressure-lowering drugs. However, the effectiveness and safety of these medications can vary widely among individuals. For instance, while anticoagulants like warfarin are commonly prescribed, their dosage and effectiveness are highly variable and can be influenced by genetic variations. Some people might need a higher dose, while others need less to avoid side effects like bleeding. In simple terms, our genetic makeup is like a personal blueprint that can influence how our body responds to stroke medications. Understanding this genetic aspect can help doctors choose the best treatment for each individual.

The Emerging Field of Pharmacogenetics in Stroke

Pharmacogenetics examines how genetic differences affect individual responses to drugs. This approach is particularly relevant in stroke management, where the precision of medication can significantly influence outcomes. Pharmacogenetic testing can guide clinicians in selecting the right drug and dosage, reducing the risk of adverse effects and improving treatment efficacy.

Gene-Drug Interactions in Stroke

Genes such as CYP2C9 and VKORC1 have been found to influence the response to warfarin, a common anticoagulant used in stroke prevention. BioCertica's pharmacogenetics testing includes analysis of these and other relevant genes, providing insights into how a patient might metabolize and respond to various stroke-related medications. This information is crucial in tailoring treatment plans for stroke patients, ensuring they receive the most appropriate and effective therapy. An example of a report is shown below. 

example of pharmacogenetics test for stroke

The Advantage of BioCertica's Pharmacogenetics Report in Stroke Management

BioCertica’s pharmacogenetics report offers a detailed analysis of genetic factors that influence drug response in treatment of this disease. This report can guide healthcare providers in making more informed decisions about medication choices and dosing, enhancing the safety and effectiveness of stroke treatments. For patients, this personalized approach means receiving care specifically tailored to their genetic makeup, potentially improving outcomes and reducing the risk of recurrence.


Imagine a stroke treatment plan designed just for you. It's like having a treatment map based on your unique genes. It ensures you get the right medication in the right amount. This isn’t just about advanced science; it's about making your healthcare journey more personal and effective. Curious? Give the test a try here and see the difference it can make. Or, drop by our Learning Center for an easy-to-understand guide on how this test could be a game-changer in your fight against this diseasse.


  1. Global burden of stroke and risk factors in 188 countries, during 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013. Lancet Neurology. 2016.
  2. Pharmacogenetics of Anticoagulant Therapy: Tailoring Treatment Based on Genetic Profile. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. 2020.
  3. The Role of Pharmacogenetics in the Prevention of Stroke. Stroke Research and Treatment. 2021.
  4. Djuzic, N., Fernandez, J., Moller, J., & Hamzic, E. Unlocking the potential of pharmacogenetics in South Africa. S Afr Gen Pract, 2023(4):153-155. 2023.
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