Your genetic makeup, or genotype, is your inherited DNA code. It serves as the building blocks of your body. These personal genomics, along with a clinical assessment of your current health and family history, compose the trifecta of information that doctors now use to drive individualized treatment decisions. This is at the heart of precision or personalized medicine.
Clinical genetic testing has long been used to determine health risk. Even though pharmacogenetics was first established in the 1950s, only recently has it begun to be used to tailor drug treatments for mental illness, certain cancers, cardiovascular disease, HIV/AIDS and other medical conditions.
In addition, research has also shown that pharmacogenetics is beneficial to those with mental health issues who have treatment-resistant depression or mood disorders.
Not everyone reacts to medications in the same way. Many people experience feelings of frustration if they don’t receive relief from the first-line treatments for their mental illness. Up to half of all patients do not respond as desired (and some even experience adverse reactions) to the first psychiatric medication that is prescribed, and this is in part because of their genetic makeup.
A person’s Genotype can affect responses to certain drugs. It can also influence negative side effects or adverse drug reactions. Using pharmacogenetics, healthcare providers can narrow down which medications may be more or less likely to work better or be well tolerated and at what dose. This may reduce the trial and error that often happens with treatment as usual.
As new research becomes available, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to add pharmacogenomic biomarker labeling information. These genetic associations include warnings, precautions and concomitant drug use and dosage recommendations.
To help clinicians determine medication treatment, Genomind® pharmacogenetic testing analyzes multiple well-characterized genes. Genomind Professional PGx Express™ focuses on two primary mechanisms.
Pharmacokinetic effects. Certain genetic enzymes control how quickly your body, specifically your liver, breaks down the medications you take. If your body metabolizes a drug quickly, you might not receive any benefits, or you may need a higher dose. If your body metabolizes a drug slowly, you might experience side effects or possible toxicity. If you are a slow metabolizer, you may need a lower dose or in some cases, may consider avoiding that drug altogether.
Pharmacodynamic effects. Certain genetic mutations can be used to help predict the effect a particular drug will have on your body. Genomind Professional PGx Express analyzes 15 pharmacodynamic genes that can be used to influence drug choice after reviewing your symptoms, past treatment responses, family history of treatment response and your individual treatment goals.
Pharmacogenetic testing can’t yet independently determine which specific medication you should take or how well other medications will work for you, but it offers personalized guidance to your healthcare provider.