We know how frustrating it can be for patients when they are prescribed a psychiatric medication that’s supposed to help with the life-limiting effects of a mood disorder — only to have the medication cause more side-effects or not help at all.
In order to combat this debilitating cycle in my practice, I use Genesight testing, a genetic test that provides insights about patient’s genetic makeup to see how they metabolize medicine. With Genesight testing as a tool to guide treatment, we can help patients find a better fit based on their DNA makeup.
How does Genesight testing work?
Genesight testing is done by collecting cheek cells with a simple mouth swab in our office. The cheek cells are mailed to a lab, and the results come back in about a week.
With the test results, we are able to evaluate your unique genetic makeup to see how your body metabolizes medications. This can help to guide our treatment plan. Based on how slowly or quickly you metabolize medicine, we can see how likely you are to experience side effects.
Slow metabolizers: Some patients that experience side effects like nausea or fatigue metabolize medicine much slower, and oftentimes, all they need to minimize those side effects is to decrease the dose of the medication.
Rapid metabolizers: Rapid metabolizers will burn through medication much faster than most patients, and oftentimes need to be on a higher dose. These are usually the patients that come to me and say, “I’ve tried Zoloft (or any other medication), but it didn’t work.” With Genesight testing, we are able to predict that this may happen based on your results.
Inconsistent metabolizers: Some patients may have genetic markers that indicate that they don’t metabolize medication consistently; in those cases, we may avoid a certain medication altogether.
How can I get a Genesight test?
While Genesight won’t completely guide treatment, it’s an invaluable tool we can use to find the right treatment for path for you. If you’re interested in genetic testing, you will need to have scheduled a psychiatric evaluation, including a history of medications you’ve tried in order to support the medical need for testing.
If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss testing, you can do so on our website and indicate that you’re interested in Genesight testing.
Many insurance providers will cover the testing because it can save resources in the long run.
In our opinion, one of the best things about Genesight is that the company provides tools to complement their testing. One of those tools is a mobile app that can be used to log daily activities, symptoms, medication use, or mood. This information can be shared with your therapist of psychiatric provider to provide further insight into treatment.
— Sonya Ruedlinger, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, PMHNP-BC