The anticoagulant warfarin, also known as Coumadin, is notoriously difficult to use. On the one hand, it saves lives by preventing lethal blood clots. On the other, though, getting the dose right can be tricky. There is a genetic test to help guide doctors in determining the appropriate dose. The question has been whether the results make enough practical difference to justify the cost of $250 to $400. Mayo Clinic scientists tested nearly 900 patients. They were compared to almost 2,700 patients who were not tested. In the course of six months, 18 percent of the tested patients had drug complications, compared to 26 percent of the untested controls. The savings in hospitalization costs more than made up for the cost of the initial genetic testing.
[ Meeting of the American College of Cardiology, March, 2010]