News, Announcements and Expert Commentary from Inova

New Genetic Testing Options Could Predict Your Response to Mental Health Medications

Allison Mitchell, MS, CGS, is a laboratory genetic counselor at the Inova Genomics Laboratory, part of the Inova Translational Medicine Institute (ITMI). 

 

We’re lucky to live in a time when there are many medications available for treating behavioral and mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

However, people may respond differently to medications due, in part, to their genetic make-up. What works for one person might not work at all for another. In fact, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 people with depression will not find relief from the first antidepressant medication they try.

That’s why we’re thrilled to be offering two new genetic tests that can help us predict how people may respond to these medications. It’s a natural next step in Inova’s mission of personalized medicine and wellness.

MediMap® ADHD and MediMap® MIND

This month, we’ve begun offering two new “pharmacogenomics” tests that analyze certain DNA changes in samples collected from a painless cheek swab. These tests look at genetic changes that influence our response to particular drugs.

  • MediMap® ADHD looks at certain changes in 3 genes and gives information on 7 drugs commonly prescribed to treat ADHD.
  • MediMap® Mind looks at certain changes in 14 genes and gives information on 62 medications used to treat mental health and behavioral disorders. These include depression, anxiety, dementia, and addiction disorders, as well as ADHD.

The tests can’t tell us whether or not a person has one of these disorders. But the tests may help take some of the trial and error out of treating people who have already been diagnosed with one of these conditions. Sometimes, those patients are newly diagnosed and about to start treatment. Others may have already tried certain medications, but haven’t responded to them.

MediMap® tests may help guide patients and their doctors to the drugs and dosages more likely to be effective and less likely to cause unwanted side effects.

Targeted Treatment

Genetics isn’t the only factor that influences how a person responds to a drug, but it is an important one. In some cases, we have strong evidence that a particular genetic change is likely to lead to a certain outcome. For instance, certain gene changes might indicate a patient is likely to respond well to a given drug. Other genetic changes indicate that the patient may need a dosage change or alternative medication (if there is one available).

In other cases, the link between a particular genetic change and the response to a specific medication is less clear.

At Inova, we provide genetic counselors to help you understand both the benefits and limitations of the tests. We can also help your doctor understand how the results may guide treatment decisions.

Mental and behavioral disorders are common, as figures from the National Institute of Mental Health reveal. An estimated 8% to 9% of children and adults will experience ADHD symptoms in their lifetime, for example. And about 6.7% of U.S. adults and 12.5% of adolescents experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

MediMap® testing can help bring genome-driven, personalized treatment to such patients, giving them a welcome head start on their path to wellness.

If you’re interested in MediMap®, ask your doctor to order the test or call 703-776-8199 to schedule an appointment at the Inova Genomics Laboratory.

 

 

 

 

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