Clinicians who specialize in ADHD say summer is an ideal time to diagnose and treat it, even though many may falsely assume the brain disorder takes this school-free season off. Clinicians who use Genomind’s Genecept Assay ® (www.genomind.com), a genetic test designed to help clinicians optimize treatment decisions for their patients with ADHD, say testing young patients when they aren’t distracted by school makes sense.
Genetic testing is easy to do during an office visit; it involves a cheek swab that clinicians then send to Genomind’s certified lab where it’s analyzed. But taking a child away from school for this test can be cumbersome, so it’s another reason Burns recommends patients undergo this process in the summer.
Clinicians such as Burns have helped Genomind reach an important milestone— the 80,000th patient has received results from the Genecept Assay. In addition to helping with ADHD, the test is used to guide treatment for a range of psychiatric conditions, including autism, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, chronic pain and substance abuse, and has been shown in peer-reviewed published studies to improve patient outcomes and reduce overall medical costs.
Burns says the end of the school year also marks a period when parents see the final report cards and realize the severity of their child’s learning issues. Too many parents feel helpless during the summer and just hope things will be different in the fall. By beginning treatment in the summer, experts say the stakes are lower as the student doesn’t have any school work that will suffer as medication begins to take effect.
Burns, and many other clinicians, use Genecept results to look for the most effective and tolerable dosages of treatments for ADHD. “This type of test is essential because each person’s genetic code is unique. Several genes dictate how medication is processed in the body, how effective medicine may be, and whether the patient could be at risk for side effects.”
KING OF PRUSSIA, PA.– July 18, 2016– Psychiatrist Using the Genecept Assay ® Says Testing During Summer Helps Students Succeed
Dr. Mary Burns, an Atlanta psychiatrist, says, “For a child coping with ADHD, the symptoms don’t just disappear when the last school bell of the year rings. These kids continue to have problems paying attention and controlling behavior.”
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects approximately 11 percent of children 4 –17 years of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development. It has symptoms presenting in two or more settings (e.g. at home, school or work; with friends or relatives; in other activities), and negatively impacts directly on social, academic or occupational functioning.
Research has found 87 percent of patients demonstrated a clinically measurable improvement with treatment guided by the Genecept Assay. It also reported improvement in 91 percent of patients who had failed at least two medications in the past.
Summer is ideal to diagnose and treat ADHD. Clinicians who use Genomind’s Genecept Assay® say testing young patients when they aren’t in school makes sense.
Your symptoms are a part of the equation, but they won’t answer the most important question you should have when being prescribed an antidepressant — will it work for me?
That’s because medications today are largely prescribed randomly, with little regard to your biochemical and genetic makeup. This means that what works for someone else may very well not work for you. In short, it’s a pretty horribly random way to practice medicine.
Today, if you go into your doctor and say, “Hey doc, I’m depressed,” she’ll run through the list of symptoms of depression and determine if you actually meet the diagnostic criteria for depression. After some additional questioning and a discussion about your treatment plan, she may decide to prescribe you an antidepressant. She’ll typically choose that antidepressant from a list of more than a dozen different varieties, largely based upon her own professional experience in prescribing these different antidepressants.
Pharmacogenetic testing is the process of examining a person’s unique genetic structure to help determine what medication will metabolize best within that person’s system. The idea of personalized medicine like this has been around since the 1950s. But it hasn’t been until very recently that such genetic testing became inexpensive enough to make it within reach to millions.
There are at least two pharmacogenetic tests for ADHD. One is by a company called Harmonyx that just became available, and another is available from AssureRx. Some hospital systems, such as Duke, also can do in-house testing in their own labs. These kinds of tests usually cost less than $100 (paid out of your own pocket, typically), and will return a list of drugs, in order of their likely effectiveness for a given condition. AssureRx also offers a similar test for people with depression.
What if doctors had a better idea ahead of time which medications may work better for you than others, based upon your unique biology and biochemical makeup? They could then make prescribing decisions with a lot more knowledge, finding you a medication that would have a higher chance of working the first time.
Because research shows that after your first antidepressant prescription, less than 1 in 5 people will experience a positive effect from that medication. That means the vast majority of folks — 4 out of 5 — will experience no or little relief from their depressive symptoms.
But it’s an exciting development in the world of personalized medicine and improving the effectiveness of our existing treatments.
Pharmacogenetic testing can help us practice better medicine by having at least some idea about what medications may have potentially a great impact on your biochemistry.
Prescribing medications has long been a trial-and-error approach for nearly any medication you could take. That's been especially true in psychiatry, where