Medications can be an effective component of any program designed to treat addiction, mental illness or a co-occurring disorder. Finding the right medications and the proper dosages is essential for them to achieve the desired effects. Because no two people are exactly alike, doctors need to understand each patient’s distinct physical makeup in order to find those medications which will best serve their needs. Pharmacogenetic testing allows doctors to understand how a patient will respond to different medications based on genetic analysis.
We inherit our genes from our parents. Each human cell has about 25,000 of them. Just as every person has his own finger print, we all have a unique genetic makeup. Even identical twins have distinct genetic patterns. Our genes contain all the information our bodies need to develop and function. They determine our physical characteristics, such as the color of our hair and eyes, our height and blood type. They can cause us to develop an allergy or contract a disease. Our genes also dictate how our bodies will respond to different medications.
What is Pharmacogenetic Testing?
According to The Pharmacogenomics Journal, “Pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing provides information about a patient’s likelihood to have an adverse response and/or a therapeutic response to a medication, enabling the potential for a tailored and personalized approach to medication therapy.” Different patients will metabolize the same medications in different ways. Genetic variations determine how drugs are broken down, transported, converted, absorbed and excreted, which is why the same drug affects everyone differently. Some patients may not be able to efficiently metabolize a given drug, so they may not experience any improvement by taking it while exposing themselves to dangerous side effects. Conversely, others may metabolize the same medication so rapidly that a higher dose or different drug may be needed.
Although the laboratory analysis process is complex, the sample collection process for pharmacogenetic testing is very simple. The noninvasive procedure can be done in a few seconds. This form of testing:
- Only requires a single painless cheek swab or saliva sample
- Provides information about drug metabolism
- Does not provide information about diseases, ethnic background or family relationships
- Takes approximately 48 hours to obtain result
- Pharmacogenetic testing cost Is covered by some insurance plans
Once doctors receive the data from pharmacogenetic testing labs they can more efficiently find a medication regimen that best suits the patient. PGx provides information that can:
- Improve the safety and efficacy of medications
- Reduce the risk of side effects and toxicity
- Lower the risk of serious adverse effects or fatal reactions
- Help eliminate unnecessary medication
- Shorten the time it takes to achieve desired effect
- Be cost-effective
PGx provides a wealth of information about many different medications used to treat mental health conditions. The following are just a few mental health conditions that PGx may benefit:
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Our genetic makeup is only one of a number of factors that determine how our bodies will respond to a particular medication. There are other relevant variables such as gender, age, weight and overall health. At Sovereign Health of Florida our doctors analyze all the pertinent information in order to find the medications that will best help each patient.
At Sovereign Health of Florida we recognize that every person is as unique as his genetic makeup. We are committed to The Sovereign Way, a philosophy that recognizes each patient’s unique needs and circumstances by providing personalized treatment plans tailored to his or her specific needs. Pharmacogenetic testing is just one part of a full evaluation we do to identify anything that may be causing or contributing to a patient’s addiction, mental illness or co-occurring disorder. To learn more about Pharmacogenetic testing or any of our treatment programs at Sovereign Health, please call our 24/7 helpline.