An American survey has revealed that more
than 16 percent of Americans will experience major depressive disorders during
are several stigmas
to depression, but studies have revealed that it is a medical
just like diabetes or a
heart condition. This condition does not merely affect the mind but makes an impact
on the entire being of a person.
depression often leads to suicide
but the good news is that depression is treatable. The majority of
individuals who receive treatment go on to make full recovery.
individualized treatment approach has revolutionalized treatment for depression
by optimizing the effectiveness of the treatment and by reducing side
play an important role in a person's
response to drugs and in the side effects that he suffers; however one study
has found that environmental factors
have a greater role to play!
It has been understood that there is a
complicated nexus between genes, environment and drug response. It is hoped
that studies in genetic variability
would help to understand a person's
response to medications for mental illness, particularly in those who are
The term "pharmacogenetics"
has been used to describe the
mechanism by which gene variation influences drug response and the rate of side
Detecting specific "candidate" genes
would allow the therapists to predict the manner in which an individual
metabolizes a medicine. This in turn would enable doctors to choose the correct
therapy that is most suitable for that patient, thereby, helping to reduce side
is the largest prospective study of unipolar depression
enhanced pharmacogenetic knowledge about antidepressant response and
tolerability. Various markers were explored in this study that could
influence treatment modality of this illness and it was found that a
combination of genes, rather than a single gene, can act as markers, or
predictors, of response to anti-depressants.
In January 2005, the FDA approved the Roche
AmpliChip CYP450 genotyping test
for variants in the gene CYP2D6 and CYP2C19,
using the patients DNA derived from buccal or blood samples. The test helps therapists to
determine appropriate treatment plans, including dosing, for medications
metabolized by CYP2D6 or CYP2C19. It analyzes the patient's DNA to predict if
he or she -
has more difficulty reaching therapeutic
responds normal medicine metabolizing capacity
experiences more adverse effects;
is a poor metabolizer and at higher risk for
Although genetic testing may influence
treatment choices, current data is not adequate enough to be conclusive.
However, with further research the dream of personalized therapy is soon likely
to become a reality!
Pharmacogenetics and Depression: Realized Dream or Great Expectation?; Jolene et al; US Pharm. 2011;36(11):72-76.