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Combinatorial Pharmacogenomic Testing

I recently took a gene test to figure out what psychiatric medications work better for me. Wow, right?

So, how do you do this? It is super-easy. My psychiatric nurse practioner used the company GeneSight. All I had to do was to rub a Q-tip on either side of my cheek. Then it was sent to a lab. I got a detailed report back.

What I learned was very interesting. For each class of drug – say antipsychotic or antidepressant – there were three catagories listed.

  1. Use as directed
  2. Moderate gene-drug interaction
  3. Significant gene-drug interaction

Basically, you want to stay in the first column, the “Use as directed” column. It gives you a list of medications that would be especially effective for you given your genes.

Column two, “Moderate gene-drug interaction,” lists medications that – you guessed it – react moderately to your personal chemistry. The cool thing is, there are footnotes that tell you what that interaction may be.

Column three,”Significant gene-drug interaction,” included medications you most likely should choose to avoid and instead choose from column one or two ( or at least that is how I understand it). For example, the only drug on my antidepressant page in column three was Paxil. Now, nothing wrong with Paxil. I have never even tried it before. But according to my gene testing it wouldn’t work nearly as well for me, as say Celexa – a med in column one.

I find all this science and information interesting and exciting because if doctors can find ways of prescribing the right drug – especially early in the onset of the illness – the better off the patient will be.

I would definitely ask your psychiatrist about getting the test done. You, like me, could learn a lot and potentially find a better combo of meds.

Combinatorial Pharmacogenomic Testing

Elaina J. Martin

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APA Reference
Martin, E. (2016). Combinatorial Pharmacogenomic Testing. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 20, 2019, from


Last updated: 20 Oct 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Oct 2016
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