There’s a DNA test that can determine which antidepressants are right for you

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This could revolutionize how you are prescribed medications.


Read the full article here at: Global News



When it comes to mental illness, medication is often a key component of treatment. But finding the right type and dose can be a time-consuming, costly and sometimes dangerous game of trial and error.

In response, researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto are conducting the Impact Study that analyzes individual patients’ DNA to determine the most effective medication for their genetic makeup. They say that the results will speed up treatment while minimizing side effects for patients.



“So far, we’ve tested 9,000 people [since starting the study in 2013], and our analysis has shown a 27 per cent reduction in the severity of depression symptoms in patients whose doctors have followed the guidance,” says Dr. James Kennedy, head of the Tanenbaum Centre for Pharmacogenetics at CAMH. “We also conducted a similar study to treat anxiety disorders and it showed [similar results].”

The test involves taking a swab of saliva from a patient’s mouth and sending it to a lab to be tested for 10 genes. Of the genes tested, eight determine how the liver will break down a particular drug — if it works too fast, it won’t make its way to the brain. If it works too slow, it can accumulate in the bloodstream and create toxicity. The other two genes determine how the drug will affect the brain.



A similar test is used in the U.S. right now, and he says studies have shown that the testing has saved patients up to $5,000 (in one Minnesota study).

“Our primitive data shows a range of savings from $1,500 to $2,000 over the 12 months following the test. It could revolutionize the way doctors write prescriptions,” Kennedy says.