Monday, August 7, 2017

Gene Test May Help Treat Depression

According to an article written by medical doctor Shamard Charles, gene tests may help patients find compatible antidepressants. In the new, lucrative field of pharmaconogenomics, how genes affect drug effects, patients are getting full or partial parts of their DNA sequenced in order to skip the trial-and-error part of treatments. One patient, Sarah Ellis, went through 23 different anti-depressive medications before her psychiatrist recommended a genome sequence to see why she wasn't responding to the medication correctly. Many of the prescriptions were giving her ill side-effects: balance problems, weight problems, and sexual problems. With more than 1 in 20 Americans over 12 battling with depression, it is unclear how many have stopped taking prescriptions because of the side effects it gives them.
Ellis followed her psychiatrist's advice and had her genome sequenced.“Once the genetic testing became available it provided Sarah with more than just physical relief," says Dr. Matthew B. Stanley of the Avera Medical Group in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. "It gave us an answer — that this was her physiology and her genetics and not something in her head.” The Avera Institute for Human Genetics (AIHG) in Sioux Falls, South Dakota is among several institutions exploring the role of pharmacogenomics — the science of how our inheritance and genetic makeup influences the way we metabolize medications. “Pharmacogenomics is one piece of the puzzle," Bohlen said. "We look at it as a tool to help the physician. They can couple their expert opinions with information from the patient, like their symptoms and family history, to look more closely at one class of drug over another." According to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic that looked at one genetic test similar to many used in hospitals ( GeneSight Pscychotropic), symptoms of depression were reduced by 70 percent compared to treatments prescribed without genetic testing. As understanding genes becomes more realized and medicine more individualized, the future of drug prescription lies in pharmacogenomics.


  1. This is absolutely amazing. The scariest thing about any kind of mental disorder, is the time it takes to find the correct drug to help eliminate the side effects. The problem is some drugs can enhance a persons symptoms. If your symptoms are enhanced, you are likely to stop taking the medication and less likely to try a different medication.
    For more information on medical disorders and the type of drugs that exist for them go here:

  2. Hi Justin,

    My name is Ryan and I work with GeneSight, one of the companies mentioned in this article. Thanks for helping amplify this story and help people learn about how genetic testing can help people with depression!

    I was wondering if you wouldn't mind adding a hyperlink back to the GeneSight website in the same way that you linked the Mayo Clinic, so people can have the opportunity to learn more about this test? The link to include is

    Thanks a lot and if you have questions, feel free to reach out to me at