Genetic tests are used to determine antidepressant efficacy – but science might not back up claims

| | October 8, 2018
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It can be notoriously difficult for psychiatrists and patients to determine which antidepressant might be most effective, or which might cause side effects.

And so Color Genomics, a company that already sells genetic tests to determine someone’s risk of developing certain cancers, said this week that it will also begin to offer a DNA test to determine how well widely used antidepressants are likely to work for patients.

With the new test (part of a $249 product), Color joins several dozen companies probing patients’ DNA in search of insights to help inform decisions about which psychiatry medications patients should take. They’re touting applications for depression, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

But some top psychiatrists say the evidence doesn’t support the commercial rush.

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In a review published this [April 2018], a task force of the American Psychiatric Association’s research council concluded that such genetic testing is not ready for prime time in their field. “Although some of the preliminary published data sound promising,” the task force members wrote, “there is insufficient evidence to support widespread use of combinatorial pharmacogenetic decision support tools at this point in time.”

The upshot: While genes seem to play some role in how well antidepressants work, factors like age, diet, and hormonal status may be far more influential.

Read full, original post: In the race to use genetic tests to predict whether antidepressants will work, science might be getting left behind

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