Have You Seen This?: Pharmacogenetics in Psychiatry and Primary Care

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Holly Magliochetti

Genetics Institute of America

Genetics Institute of America (GIA) is a national laboratory dedicated to heightening the awareness of early intervention and genetic screening to promote the longevity and quality of life outcomes.  


Have You Seen This? 

PGx in Psychiatry and Primary Care

DELRAY BEACH, FL  – In the year 2020, over 40% of the United States population reported one or more adverse mental health conditions, including Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).1 “64% of the United States depressed population reported severe impairment and were commonly treated with medication combined with care by a health professional. There has been a 65% increase in the number of prescriptions for antidepressants along with an increase in MDD diagnosis between 1999-2014.”1 Antidepressants are prescribed to 54% of primary care patients, making depression medications the third most frequently prescribed therapeutic class in the United States.1 Currently, “trial and error” prescribing results in choosing incorrect medications, causing reduced symptom remission, decreased medication compliance and adverse effects.

A new study published in Nature, evaluated the use of a pharmacogenomics panel in the primary care and psychiatric setting in order to understand timing of results and potential for better clinical outcomes in MDD patients with regards to symptom remission and medication success. Within the study cohort, “approximately 20% of participants had a significant interaction between their genetics and their current medications,” as shown in the results of their pharmacogenetic report.1 The study showed that if the MDD patient received pharmacogenetic results earlier in their treatment, there was faster clinical improvements, including decreased symptom severity and decreased number of symptoms.1

With primary care providers being the earliest point of contact and writing the most prescriptions for psychotropics, “patients benefit when the provider is able to make a guided selection for treatment with all known metabolism information for each potential class and agent.”1 Pharmacogenetic tests need to be used early in diagnosis for the best and most successful treatment outcome.

  1. Bohlen KN, Kittelsrud JM, Nelson ME, et al. Clinical utility of pharmacogenetics in a psychiatric and primary care population. Pharmacogenomics J. 2023;23(1):21-27. doi:10.1038/s41397-022-00292-6
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