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Genetic testing improves depression treatment outcomes and saves costs

pharmacogenetic testing

Not very long ago, I talked about the role of pharmacogenetic testing in psychiatry and how it can improve treatment outcomes. Pharmacogenetic testing is a procedure that examines how a patient's genetic makeup will influence their response to a drug.

Because your genes determine how your body reacts to certain medications, some patients will respond well to an antidepressant while some will be resistant to the same drug. Say hello to treatment-resistant depression. Some patients will also experience worse side effects.

Through pharmacogenetic testing, your provider may be able to determine which antidepressant is best for you.

In essence, trial-and-error may be reduced as depression treatment becomes more targeted.

This is great news if you're battling treatment-resistant depression or any other condition for which other patients enjoy positive treatment outcomes.

But beyond that, there's another benefit, an economic one.

Pharmacogenetic testing can lead to significant cost savings by facilitating better treatment outcomes and quicker recoveries. That's easy to grasp, seeing that you would not have to spend on drugs that may not work for you. With a shorter treatment period, your bills wouldn't compound enormously.

In British Columbia alone where the research was conducted, pharmacogenetic testing could help save up to $956 million over 20 years.

The limitations

As with most things, there are still some limitations here. For starters, genetics isn't the only factor influencing a patient's response to antidepressants. In fact, studies show that up to 42% of the variation in how patients respond to antidepressants is due to their genetics. That means there are other non-genetic factors accounting for the remaining 58%.

Nonetheless, genes play a major role in how your body responds to antidepressants, so genetic testing is a gigantic step toward better depression treatment outcomes.

A recent study has shown that pharmacogenetic testing can result in 37% fewer treatment-resistant depression cases. This will potentially amount to almost 2,000 fewer deaths from depression over 20 years. That's quite significant.

Depressed? Take a step now

Although more research is still required, why not take a step now? If you or your loved one is going through a tough fight with depression, I want to help.

Together, we'll find the best treatment suitable for you.

Come, let's talk.

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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