Pharmacogenetic studies of alcohol use disorder (AUD) have suggested that the efficacy of treatments for AUD is, in part, influenced by the genetic background of an individual. Since the frequency of alleles associated with pharmacotherapy for AUD varies by ancestral background, the effectiveness of medications used to treat AUD may vary among different populations. The purpose of this review is to summarize the existing pharmacogenetic studies of treatments for AUD in individuals of European, East Asian, African, and American Indian/Alaska Native ancestry.
Electronic databases were searched for pharmacogenetic studies of AUD treatment that included individuals of diverse ancestral backgrounds.
Pharmacogenetic studies of AUD reviewed here have primarily investigated genetic variation thought to play a role in the response to naltrexone, ondansetron, and topiramate. There is support that the A118G polymorphism should be further investigated in individuals of East Asian ancestry.
Given the lack of pharmacogenetic research on response to AUD medication in ethnic minority populations and the mixed results, there is a critical need for future studies among individuals of different ancestries. More efforts should be devoted to standardizing procedures such that results can be more readily integrated into a body of literature that can directly inform clinical practice.
This review highlights the importance for future research to aim for inclusiveness in pharmacogenetic studies of AUD and increase diversity of clinical trials in order to provide the best treatment outcomes for individuals across different racial and ethnic groups. (Am J Addict 2017;26:516-525).