Family practice offers genetic tests to predict effective psychiatric meds

January 30, 2013, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

For the first time in Canada, patients attending a family practice clinic will be offered genetic testing to see whether or how they will respond to psychiatric medication treatment, in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

Thornhill Medical Centre, a clinic of , is making the promise of personalized medicine a reality.

"These pharmacogenetic tests will enable physicians to use a patient's to help predict which medications are safe to prescribe, and which ones may be ineffective or cause side effects," said Dr. James Kennedy, head of CAMH's Department.

The tests, which will prevent trial-and-error prescribing and reduce associated health-care costs, will be analyzed in the Tanenbaum Centre for Pharmacogenetics at CAMH's Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute.

"My patients were ready for these tests yesterday – they may have tried three or four different antidepressants that didn't work or had side effects, before finding something that helped them," Dr. Nick Voudouris, a family physician with the Thornhill Medical Centre. "The ability to be able to know which medications patients will respond to, based on their , is invaluable."

Using a saliva sample, variations on five genes are analyzed to predict a patient's response to 19 common antidepressant and antipsychotic medications. Medications that will work get a green light to prescribe as directed. A yellow caution. For each medication in this category, the tests will show whether dosing levels need to be lowered or increased, or that the drug's effects may not be optimal for this patient. Medications in the red light category should be used with caution and more frequent monitoring, due to side effects or lack of response.

This initiative is part of the larger IMPACT study (: Pharmacogenetic Assessment & Clinical Treatment). Funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, IMPACT researchers aim to look at the impact of genetic testing over seven years in 20,000 patients. They are also seeking to identify new genetic markers.

"We expect these tests to improve patient satisfaction and safety, and have a substantial impact on reducing health-care costs, which we will be examining over the course of the IMPACT study," said Dr. Kennedy. "With the genetic information doctors will be better equipped to prevent complications from medications before they occur."

Thornhill Medical Centre was chosen because its team includes seven general practitioners and numerous registered nurses caring for a diverse array of who can be monitored on a fully implemented electronic medical record. This system helps track important research information as well. All clinic physicians agree that genetic information is important to study in terms of medication response and , and has a great benefit for patient care, Dr. Voudouris noted.

Explore further: Genetic link to rapid weight gain from antipsychotics discovered

Related Stories

Genetic link to rapid weight gain from antipsychotics discovered

July 17, 2012
Scientists have discovered two genetic variants associated with the substantial, rapid weight gain occurring in nearly half the patients treated with antipsychotic medications, according to two studies involving the Centre ...

Genetic-screening trial could reduce drug side-effects

June 24, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Patients with a range of common inflammatory diseases that also have genetic variations leading to low levels of a particular enzyme in their bodies are at greater risk of suffering side-effects from the ...

Simple intervention helps doctors communicate better when prescribing medications

January 15, 2013
When it comes to prescribing medications to their patients, physicians could use a dose of extra training, according to a new study led by a UCLA researcher.

Reducing off-label use of antipsychotic medications may save money

May 15, 2012
Reducing the non-FDA-approved use of antipsychotic drugs may be a way to save money while having little effect on patient care, according to a Penn State College of Medicine study.

Seniors' adverse drug reactions need better prevention strategies

August 29, 2011
Medical practitioners need to implement new strategies for decreasing adverse drugs reactions among seniors, conclude the authors of a scientific literature review led by Michael Steinman, MD, a physician and geriatrics researcher ...

Recommended for you

Modulating molecules: Study shows oxytocin helps the brain to modulate social signals

January 17, 2018
Between sights, sounds, smells and other senses, the brain is flooded with stimuli on a moment-to-moment basis. How can it sort through the flood of information to decide what is important and what can be relegated to the ...

Reducing sessions of trauma-focused psychotherapy does not affect effectiveness

January 17, 2018
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) patients treated with as few as five sessions of trauma-focused psychotherapy find it equally effective as receiving 12 sessions.

Baby brains help infants figure it out before they try it out

January 17, 2018
Babies often amaze their parents when they seemingly learn new skills overnight—how to walk, for example. But their brains were probably prepping for those tasks long before their first steps occurred, according to researchers.

How past intentions influence generosity toward the future

January 17, 2018
Over time, it really is the thought that counts – provided we know what that thought was, suggests new research from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business.

Tracking the impact of early abuse and neglect

January 17, 2018
Children who experience abuse and neglect early in life are more likely to have problems in social relationships and underachieve academically as adults.

Study: No evidence to support link between violent video games and behaviour

January 16, 2018
Researchers at the University of York have found no evidence to support the theory that video games make players more violent.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.