Genetic Testing for Depression Medication

Pharmacogenetic Testing Also Known as Genetic Testing for Depression Medication

Ongoing technological improvements continue to tailor a myriad of goods and services to match up with our preferences and individual traits. Now genetic testing for depression medications can aid physicians in pinpointing the most effective treatment rather than the inefficient trial methods used to date.  Antidepressants have been found to be effective in the majority of depression patients, but too often time is wasted and side effects are suffered in an effort to find, through trial and error, a medication that works.

Pharmacogenetics testing takes the next step toward personalizing depression treatment, streamlining treatment and improving outcomes.  This genetic testing for depression medication can alleviate much of the frustration that patients experience as they cycle through one antidepressant trial to another, finding no relief.  By having this genetic test, patients can potentially avoid many of the unpleasant side effects associated with these drugs.

How Genetic Testing for Depression Medication Works

The development of gene testing for matching medications to the specific patient holds great promise for improving patient outcome.  This is because an individual person’s unique gene make-up can affect how they respond to medications, so having this type of test available can be a powerful tool for physicians who treat depression.  Gene testing can help identify:

  • The appropriate dosing of a medication
  • The potential side effects of a medication
  • Which medications would be most effective

Because our genes do not change over time, it is only necessary to have a genetic test for antidepressants once.

Pharmacogenetics testing can identify certain variants in genes that could affect a patient’s response to a medication.  The doctor takes a simple swap sample from the inside of the patients cheek, which is then sent to a lab that performs the analysis.  The test can determine which kind of metabolism for medications a patient has from a range of four types.  These metabolizers include:

  • Poor metabolizer (PM). This indicates a very slow metabolism that can result in higher levels of the drug in the bloodstream, as well as significant side effects.
  • Intermediate metabolizer (IM). This indicates a slower-than-normal rate of metabolism, resulting in mild toxicity and some side effects.
  • Extensive metabolizers (EM). This indicates a normal metabolism rate and effective absorption, resulting in few if any side effects
  • Ultrarapid metabolizers (UM). This indicates a very fast metabolism, resulting in a poor response to the medication with no symptom relief whatsoever.

How to Obtain Genetic Testing for Antidepressants

When seeking treatment for depression at an inpatient or outpatient rehab for depression, ask if this is a treatment element offered. The CPT codes for the genetic testing panel are 81225, 81226, and 81227.  The Admissions Team can attempt to find a treatment program that offers a genetic lab within your insurance network, but some have to secure this testing out of network.  It is a good idea to receive a free insurance check from The Treatment Specialist to review your coverage.

If you decide to go choose a lab yourself, get information about the lab, such as how long they have been providing genetic testing.  Most gene testing labs have marketing materials, such as pamphlets and data about their gene tests, to share with prospective clients.  Because gene testing for depression medication is a relatively new service, you may have to make the effort to collect information to share with your health provider.

The Treatment Specialist Offers Resources for Effective Depression Treatment

The Treatment Specialist offers resources and information, call to connect with a treatment center that offers pharmacogentic testing at (866) 644-7911.

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