In the last couple of blog posts, we've discussed genetic DNA testing for the predisposition of mental health disorders, diseases, cancer, and the importance of genetic testing for dual diagnosis. However, we haven't talked about how someone's genetics plays a part in how they respond to various medications. In this blog, we will address how a person's biological reaction to various psychotropic medications such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and anxiolytics is determined by their genetics.
It turns out that each of our bodies metabolizes these drugs slightly differently based on our DNA and genetics (cite: 1). By doing a genetic test prior to administering a psychotropic medicine mental health professionals can now choose the most efficient drug for each individual. This saves time, money and prevents adverse effects. It also relieves stress for patients.
You see, since we all metabolize these drugs differently one drug might work perfectly for one person in relatively low doses, while in another person it might work a little at first, but then higher doses are needed, yet, with higher doses the body doesn't metabolize it properly so it builds up in the system causing adverse side effects. Likewise, if someone is given a certain medication as a substitute for drug dependency, that medication might interfere with the psychotropic drug in one person, while working perfectly in a different patient.
Now scientists and researchers know why. It's due to our genetics, our own DNA.
Genetic DNA Testing Takes the Guess Work Out of Psychotropic Drugs
The fact that we now have the ability to take quick blood, saliva, or other samples allows us to determine which medications will work best for a variety of different psychiatric illnesses. It is fast, it is simple.
If you've ever had the opportunity to chat with someone suffering from ADHD, mild schizophrenia, severe depression, or other mental illness they are bound to tell you stories of various medications they'd been given over the years. They will explain how some worked at first and how some didn't work at all. How some caused weight gain or made them tired, or affected their ability to sleep, or left them in a mental fog.
This is all changing now thanks to 'Pharmacogenomics' - the study of how DNA testing affects the body's response to medication. Best of all, it helps medical professionals identify in advance which specific medications could be harmful to a particular patient (cite: 2).
Genetic testing can help determine the proper dosage, duration, and safety of psychotropic medication for each person. At LifeSync Malibu we use all the high-tech advances in modern medicine to treat our new guests and clients.
Genetic Testing for Psychotropic Medicines Prevents Many of the Most Adverse Side Effects
Did you know that 39% of those who take antidepressant medication refuse to take it after only a few months due to the side effects they experience (cite: 3)? What sort of side effects, you ask? Well, how about ED, headaches, fatigue, drowsiness, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, or dry mouth. It doesn't matter what the original mental health condition was. It could have been severe depression or anxiety. It could have been ADHD, panic attacks, OCD, or bipolar disorder, or perhaps, something along the lines of schizophrenia. Medications to treat such psychiatric conditions have long been plagued with side effects.
Genetic DNA testing for psychiatric meds is a game-changer and this rapidly advancing technology is sparing millions of Americans undue hardships for their mental health treatment. Recently, PTSD patients are finding the right medication on the first go-around and finding solid results in the process thanks to genetic testing (cite 4).
Is Pharmacogenomics the Be All End All for Mental Health Treatment?
While it is true that pharmacogenomics continues to show great promise, it's not a silver bullet or one-stop-shop. There are also other factors that must be considered as well. For instance, the other drugs or medications one is taking or has been taking whether they be illicit, prescription, or over-the-counter, as each may interact with the other.
Things like pregnancy, diet, age, gender and smoking or vaping history also play a factor in how your body reacts and metabolizes psychiatric or psychotropic medicines. At LifeSync Malibu we take all factors into consideration and we take this very seriously before we ever create a customized treatment program. You are in good hands with folks who care and with Dr. Booth who knows his stuff.
Are Genetic Tests Like This Expensive?
It turns out that genetic tests for psychotropic medicines are not that expensive and they are getting less expensive as time marches forward. Best of all, many health insurance companies will pay for them. Why? Well, it's simple really. Doing it right the first time prevents adverse side effects, treatment failure, and having to start all over again and pay twice when things go south.
Suffice it to say, genetic testing for mental health treatment medications is money well spent. When you become our guest at LifeSync Malibu we'll take care of everything. Let us help you take your life back, let us help you get back to being and feeling great.
1.) "Pharmacogenomics: The promise of personalized medicine," by Laviero Mancinelli, Maureen Cronin, and Wolfgang Sadee, published in AAPS Journal, March 2000, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 29–41. ISSN: 1550-7416.
2.) "Pharmacogenomics: A Clinician's Primer on Emerging Technologies for Improved Patient Care," by James Rusnak, Robert Kisabeth, and David Herbert, et. al., published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Volume 76, Issue 3, March 2001, Pages 299-309.
3.) "Why don't patients take their medicine? Reasons and solutions in psychiatry," by Alex Mitchell and Thomas Selmes, published in Cambridge University Press, 02 January 2018, https://doi.org/10.1192/apt.bp.106.003194.
4.) "Pharmacogenomics in the Psychiatric Population," by Olubunmi Omoshebi, Nicholas Kerna, and Tony Brown, published in Journal of Psychology and Clinical Psychiatry, Volume 9 Issue 3 - 2018.