Gene tests may help identify best psychiatric meds

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in recent years has recognized the power of pharmacogenomics, or looking at a patient’s genes to figure out what medication will work best for them. It now lists known genetic factors on package inserts for 137 medications, including several dozen for psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety.

Pharmacist/pharmacogenomist Mark Dunnenberger, who runs the Pharmacogenomics Clinic at NorthShore University HealthSystem, one of the first clinics in the U.S. dedicated to interpreting the effects DNA has on drugs, said inroads are being made in the field. The process is to analyze the individual’s ability to metabolize antidepression and antipsychotic medicines as well as medicines to treat arthritis, heart disease, infectious disease, lung disease, cancer and many other conditions.

Just as we inherit eye and hair color from our parents, we inherit genes that determine how our bodies respond to medicines, especially genes used to break down drugs in the liver, kidneys and other organs. Genes are the body’s manuals that determine how we respond individually to drugs.


Though genomics differ, doctors generally have taken a one-size-fits-all approach to prescribing meds, taking into consideration age, sex and weight while overlooking growing evidence of differences based on genetic inheritance.

Read full, original post: Testing DNA to find the best meds to fight depression

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