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Can genetic testing pinpoint the right antidepressant, or is it just ‘a shot in the dark’?

| | April 10, 2019
4-4-2019 ct hlth dna tests antidepressants
Image: Jonathan Nourok
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

For patients who weren’t responding well after trying one or two different antidepressants, [physician Jeremy Bruce] started sending samples of their DNA to a company that says it can use an individual’s genetics to match them with the antidepressants most likely to work for them. Bruce said the test’s recommendations seemed to help some of his patients, so now he offers the test to any patient with depression — before they even try the first antidepressant.

Doctors such as Bruce say they have seen promising patient results, but others say there is not enough solid evidence to show that pharmacogenetics can work for the complexities of mental health treatment. Some lab tests have shown relationships between genes and the way a drug physically affects the body, but studies on whether using that information leads to better results for patients have been inconclusive.

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[Patient Nora Whelan] said the test’s guidance could possibly be helpful for other patients, even though it didn’t work for her. It’s hard to know which medication will be effective since everyone reacts differently.

Ultimately, she said, “they’re all basically a shot in the dark.”

Read full, original post: Can genetic testing help doctors better prescribe antidepressants? There’s quite a debate.

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