Scientists develop genetic test to help patients receive right anti-depression medication faster

Scientists develop genetic test to help patients receive right anti-depression medication faster

Finding the right treatment plan for various mental illnesses, especially depression is a big challenge. Experts feel that finding the right medicine for depressive disorder is mostly a trial-and-error process. In a bid to make the depression treatment more efficient and precise, scientists recently developed a genetic testing protocol that can help determine the accurate treatment/medicine for a patient at a faster pace.

Known as GeneSight, the protocol combines a person’s genetic data and the medication information of an individual to genetically determine the metabolism of a medicine in him/her. Consequently, the test suggests a better medicine that could be more suitable to the patient’s genetic profile. Results of a major study showing the effectiveness of the GeneSight test in patients with major depression were presented at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) meeting on May 7, 2018.

According to the study, the use of GeneSight improved rates of remission and response by 50 percent and 30 percent respectively compared to the traditional treatment method used for depression. The 24-week landmark study divided 1,167 patients into two treatment groups. All these patients suffered from moderate to severe depression and failed at least one antidepressant medicine. The first group comprising 560 patients was put under guided treatment recommended by GeneSight test, while the other group of 607 was treated with therapies and medications without using the genetic testing.

Elaborating the findings, principal investigator John Greden of the University of Michigan’s Comprehensive Depression Center said, “GeneSight-guided care was compared to physicians’ optimized treatment plans. The results indicate that patients fared significantly better with the pharmacogenomics approach than with usual care, despite this being a difficult-to-treat patient population.”

Factors responsible for effectiveness of genetic testing

Among the prominent triggers that can lead to the development of depression in a person, genetic predisposition is a significant contributor. Hence, people with a family history of depression are often flagged under the high-risk individual category.

In the context, a British study identified chromosome 3p25-26 to be common in more than 800 families, which had recurrent depression. The genome-wide linkage study analyzed the DNA from sibling pairs who were affected by recurrent depression and had European ancestry. While studying the DNA inheritance patterns, the researchers found that pieces of DNA were consistently passed to affected siblings. Hence, they researched further to track the genes within that region.

The researchers found that there were 214 genes within the region of the chromosome that was linked to severe recurrent depression. Besides, they also noticed that their findings may not apply to less severe, non-recurrent depression, and to individuals of non-European ancestry, implying that the identified region may not be the only one that contributes to depression. However, the study emphasized that genetics do play a greater role in severe and recurrent depression.

Treating depression at the earliest is important

Despite the high prevalence of depression in the U.S., only a few seek treatment. The prime factors shackling many people from seeking treatment are lack of knowledge, inadequate rehab centers, and prevailing stigma around mental disorders like depression. However, treating depression as soon as possible is important, as it is a debilitating condition that can lead to suicidal behaviors.

Today, there are some reputed 24/7 mental health treatment centers that can effectively treat a depressive disorder. These facilities are equipped with trained staff and latest technology to offer their patients a holistic treatment. If you or your loved one is looking for such a recovery center, feel free to contact the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 653-8178 or chat online with our expert to know more about evidence-based 24/7 mental health treatment programs available at the finest centers near you.