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Genetic Testing


Genetic Testing: What it is                                         BOOK APPOINTMENT

When it comes to mental health treatment, medication reactions can vary greatly among individuals. If you don’t experience improvement or notice your symptoms worsening after starting a depression or anxiety medication, it can be disheartening. Unfortunately, this lack of response is a common occurrence in mental health treatment. Studies indicate that around two-thirds of individuals with depression do not achieve full recovery with their initial medication, and between 31 and 48 percent of children on antidepressants may not respond to the medication.

Your genetic makeup can play a role in how you respond to medications. It can also influence whether you experience adverse side effects or poor reactions to drugs. By using genetic testing for mental health medications, clinicians can determine which treatments and dosages are more or less likely to be effective for you. This personalized approach can help reduce the trial-and-error process often associated with conventional treatment methods.

By considering your genetic profile, healthcare providers can optimize treatment plans, improving the chances of finding an effective medication and reducing the time and frustration associated with finding the right treatment fit. However, it’s important to note that genetic testing is just one tool among many in the comprehensive assessment and treatment of mental health conditions. A thorough evaluation and ongoing communication with your healthcare provider remain crucial for informed decision-making and personalized care.

How Genetic Testing Works for Mental Health Medications

Pharmacogenetics, also known as pharmacogenomics (PGx), is the scientific field behind genetic testing for medications. It explores how drugs interact with our genetic makeup, specifically the study of the human genome.

The Genomind Pharmacogenetic Test examines specific genes that may impact prescription choices and dosage recommendations for conditions like ADHD, depression, and other mental health issues. By identifying unique genetic markers that define you as an individual, this test helps healthcare providers determine which treatments are more likely to be beneficial or have adverse effects.

Genomind’s pharmacogenetic testing focuses on two key processes: drug pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic effects. Pharmacokinetics refers to how the body metabolizes and processes medications, while pharmacodynamics explores how drugs interact with specific targets in the body. By considering these factors, clinicians can gain insights into the optimal treatment approach for an individual.

Genetic testing in mental health provides valuable information that can guide treatment decisions and improve patient outcomes. However, it is important to remember that genetic testing is just one tool in the larger context of personalized medicine. The test results should be interpreted by a qualified healthcare professional who takes into account your comprehensive clinical assessment and individual needs.

Pharmacokinetic Effects

The rate at which your body breaks down medications, particularly in the liver, is regulated by specific enzymes. This process can have important implications for your treatment:

  • If your body metabolizes a medication quickly, you may not experience its full benefits and might require a higher dosage.
  • Conversely, if your body metabolizes a medication slowly, you may be at risk of adverse effects or toxicity, necessitating a lower dosage or consideration of alternative options.

According to Jay Fawver, MD, a psychiatrist at Parkview Health in Fort Wayne, Indiana, genetic testing can provide valuable insights into these metabolic effects. Genomind, for example, analyzes six genes responsible for enzymes that degrade a significant portion of all drugs. Understanding how your body processes medications can inform personalized treatment decisions.

Pharmacodynamic Effects

Genetic variations can also help predict how a specific medication will affect your body. By understanding your unique genetic makeup in these crucial areas, your clinician can tailor prescribing decisions to your individual needs.