Pharmacogenetic Testing (PGx)

       While some drugs may be beneficial for many people, sometimes they may have side effects in others. Potential side effects can sometimes come down to genes, influencing many parts of humans’ development. These inherited genes may affect everything from eye color to height and baldness. These genes also can influence how bodies respond to particular drugs in mental health treatment.   Pharmacogenetic Testing (PGx), or pharmacogenomics, is the study of how one’s genes may influence how the body processes drugs. Such testing carries significant benefits for drug regimens in the healing process.

What Are Pharmacogenetics?

       Genes can have a particular influence on how medicines may affect people. For example, a dose medication may have an outsized effect on one person while not as much on another. For instance, genomic factors may be at work in many side effects to medication.

            Because of this, pharmacogenetic testing (PGx) looks at specific genes to better understand what medicines and doses will work best with a patient. Such testing can help determine a medicine’s effectiveness, an adequate amount, and whether side effects may occur. This testing allows for the most effective treatments possible with the fewest side effects, promoting safe healing.

How Pharmacogenetic Testing Reduces Trial and Error

       Health care providers often order pharmacogenetic testing before starting specific medical treatments as a precaution. Physicians order these tests if a medicine does not seem to be treating the patient effectively enough or there are side effects present. As a whole, pharmacogenetic testing is a standard practice used to reduce trial and error in the healing process.

       Not all medications require or utilize pharmacogenetic testing, however. MedlinePlus has a list of them, but some of the more common ones include Warfarin and Plavix, commonly prescribed blood thinners. Certain antipsychotics and treatments for attention deficit disorder also have pharmacogenetic testing available.

            Ultimately, what pharmacogenetic testing (PGx) means for the patient is personalized treatment. As genetics influences how the body receives a drug, a physician can adjust such medications to work in conjunction with the body’s natural response to aid in treating conditions such as depression, cancer, and pain management. As it stands, there are dozens of FDA-approved medications to treat mental health impacted by genetics.

How Can Pharmacogenetics Improve Mental Health?

       Pharmacogenetic Testing (PGx) can improve mental health in many ways. The critical thing to keep in mind is that pharmacogenetic testing is a form of screening, and it functions as a mental health screening approach. This screening determines how well a person’s genetics would take to medication. When combined with other factors, such as symptoms, past treatments, and family history, it creates a more rounded profile of a patient’s needs.

       This rounded profile can be carried forward to future medicinal needs as well. A patient’s genetic history can provide insight into numerous medications. This genetic history is beneficial for drugs that affect mental health.

       A mental health treatment that requires fewer trial-and-error prescriptions means that medicines can help alleviate the symptoms of mental health disorders. Furthermore, it reduces the risk of medications with adverse side effects that could do more harm than good. Test results lead to the safer, far more accurate treatment of mental health disorders using medicine. Pharmacogenetic testing also generates higher quality care overall.

Why Mental Health Matters

       Mental health is essential for several reasons. The body mechanics and the wear and tear involved influence our health, just as emotional and psychological stress can also have a profound effect. Positive mental health is vital to our physical health and helps us cope with the trials and struggles of day-to-day life positively.

       Think carefully about how much the average person deals with daily. That means a lot of stress and worry from challenging circumstances in unprecedented times for many of us. A healthy and constructive mindset can help manage the impact of these issues, and mental health can influence our physical health.

       Stress, depression, and many other mental health disorders can increase people’s risk for physical illnesses such as cancer, strokes, and heart disease. A healthy mind can help reduce the risk of such conditions and create a more positive life outlook in general. Beyond standard mental health assessments, taking advantage of genetic testing as a precaution is a forward-thinking strategy to ensure a happy and healthy life.

Get Your Test Today

       New Age Psychiatry offers pharmacogenetic testing (PGx) to provide patients with answers as to how their genes influence the effectiveness of medications. This testing ensures that prescriptions are not simply a one-size-fits-all situation but rather fits a more bespoke and personalized approach to treatment.

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