Towards Evidence-Based Implementation of Pharmacogenomics in Southern Africa: Comorbidities and Polypharmacy Profiles across Diseases

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Journal of Personalized Medicine

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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute

Pharmacogenomics may improve patient care by guiding drug selection and dosing; however, this requires prior knowledge of the pharmacogenomics of drugs commonly used in a specific setting. The aim of this study was to identify a preliminary set of pharmacogenetic variants important in Southern Africa. We describe comorbidities in 3997 patients from Malawi, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. These patient cohorts were included in pharmacogenomic studies of anticoagulation, dyslipidemia, hypertension, HIV and breast cancer. The 20 topmost prescribed drugs in this population were identified. Using the literature, a list of pharmacogenes vital in the response to the top 20 drugs was constructed leading to drug–gene pairs potentially informative in translation of pharmacogenomics. The most reported morbidity was hypertension (58.4%), making antihypertensives the most prescribed drugs, particularly amlodipine. Dyslipidemia occurred in 31.5% of the participants, and statins were the most frequently prescribed as cholesterol-lowering drugs. HIV was reported in 20.3% of the study participants, with lamivudine/stavudine/efavirenz being the most prescribed antiretroviral combination. Based on these data, pharmacogenes of immediate interest in Southern African populations include ABCB1, CYP2B6, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6 CYP3A4, CYP3A5, SLC22A1, SLCO1B1 and UGT1A1. Variants in these genes are a good starting point for pharmacogenomic translation programs in Southern Africa.