Pain clinics do mouth swabs to examine the patient's DNA, says Arizona Pain. This DNA can tell whether a person metabolizes pain medications too quickly or too slowly. In either case, the dosage of pain medications can be tailored to the patient's needs.
Doctors discovered that when patient's metabolize their pain medications too quickly, they do not receive the pain relief they should because not enough of the drug reaches the brain, says Arizona Pain. These people are called hypermetabolizers. On the other hand, hypometabolizers metabolize their drugs so slowly that the drugs start to accumulate as they take one dose after another. This leads to potentially harmful side effects.