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Friday, November 2, 2018

Companies Tout Psychiatric Pharmacogenomic Testing, But Is It Ready for a Store Near You?

Jennifer Abbasi
JAMA Network
Originally posted October 3, 2018

Here is an excerpt:

According to Dan Dowd, PharmD, vice president of medical affairs at Genomind, pharmacists in participating stores can inform customers about the Genecept Assay if they notice a history of psychotropic drug switching or drug-related adverse effects. If the test is administered, a physician’s order is required for the company’s laboratory to process it.

“This certainly is a recipe for selling a whole lot more tests,” Potash said of the approach, adding that patients often feel “desperate” to find a successful treatment. “What percentage of the time selling these tests will result in better patient outcomes remains to be seen.”

Biernacka also had reservations about the in-store model. “Generally, it could be helpful for a pharmacist to tell a patient or their provider that perhaps the patient could benefit from pharmacogenetic testing,” she said. “[B]ut until the tests are more thoroughly assessed, the decision to pursue such an option (and with which test) should be left more to the treating clinician and patient.”

Some physicians said they’ve found pharmacogenomic testing to be useful. Aron Fast, MD, a family physician in Hesston, Kansas, uses GeneSight for patients with depression or anxiety who haven’t improved after trying 2 or 3 antidepressants. Each time, he said, his patients were less depressed or anxious after switching to a new drug based on their genotyping results.

Part of their improvements may stem from expecting the test to help, he acknowledged. The testing “raises confidence in the medication to be prescribed,” Müller explained, which might contribute to a placebo effect. However, Müller emphasized that the placebo effect alone is unlikely to explain lasting improvements in patients with moderate to severe depression. In his psychiatric consulting practice, pharmacogenomic-guided drug changes have led to improvements in patients “sometimes even up to the point where they’re completely remitted,” he said.

The info is here.