Depression and pharmacogenomics: Avoiding ‘trial and error’ in drug treatments

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Thanks to the relatively new field of pharmacogenomics — which the National Human Genome Research Institute defines as the use of “information about a person’s genetic makeup to choose the drugs and drug doses that are likely to work best for that particular person” — doctors can potentially bypass some of the “trial and error” phase traditionally inherent in prescribing antidepressant medication.

Using a small sample of a patient’s blood, doctors can run cytochrome P450 (CYP450) tests to help determine how a patient’s body processes and metabolizes drugs, [psychiatrist Dr. Barnell] Phillips said.

How quickly or how slowly a patient metabolizes medicine will have a potential impact on the medication’s efficacy and the severity of side effects.

“I can look at a patient’s CYP450 numbers and then look at the collective patient data of a medication I’m considering to see how that medication interacted with people who had a similar CYP450 profile,” said Phillips.

For instance, if a doctor is considering prescribing a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitior (SSRI) to treat depression, anxiety or personality disorder, Pathway Genomics will analyze five specific genes (CYP2D6, CYP3A4, SLC6A4, CYP2C19, HTR2A) and then offer predictive guidance as to which medication(s) in what dosages are most likely to be effective.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Depressed? Genetics affect how drugs work

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