he pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of morphine are under the control of several polymorphic genes, which can account for part of the observed interindividual variation in pain relief. We focused on two such genes: ABCB1/MDR1, a major determinant of morphine bioavailability, and OPRM1, which encodes for the μ-opioid receptor, the primary site of action for morphine. One hundred and forty-five patients of Italian origin undergoing morphine therapy were genotyped for the single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) C3435T of ABCB1/MDR1 and for the A80G SNP of OPRM1. Pain relief variability was significantly (P<0.0001) associated with both polymorphisms. Combining the extreme genotypes of both genes, the association between patient polymorphism and pain relief improved (P<0.00001), allowing the detection of three groups: strong responders, responders, and non-responders, with sensitivity close to 100% and specificity more than 70%. This study provides a good example of the possible clinical use of pharmacogenetics.
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