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What is slow acetylator?

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March 11, 2011 3:17PM

A slow acetylator is a person who has an recessive single gene trait which effects the N acetylate transferase enzyme in the liver. This gene causes the enzyme to work slowly in the metabolism of certain drugs. Because of this slow pace situation the slow acetylator person will receive more of the given drug in his general circulation than a fast acetylator who is metabolizing the drug and sending it out of his body via the kidneys and urine at a quicker rate and thus leaving a smaller amount in the general circulation,i.e., bloodstream. The fast acetylator is in the optimum situation. (It is better to be fast than slow in drug metabolism.)

What to do?

There is now a simple test that can by pass genetic testing for the acetylator gene. It involve some sips of coffee and a tracing of the coffee's metabolic residue in the urine and the amounts and rate thereof. Or one can just have the DNA tested. Or in the more time honored fashion the doctor can simply adjust the drug dosages until the tolerable level of side effect if any is reached.

Slow acetylation does not mean drug allergy per se and does not rule out the taking of prescribed drugs.

It effects up to 50% of the population in certain groups, Canada and Germany for example and as low as 10% among some American Indians.