What is Pharmacogenomics and How Can It Help Me?

What is a Pharmacogenomic test?

Pharmacogenomics uses information about your genetic makeup to help your doctor choose medications and doses (pharmacology) most likely to work best for you. Therefore, pharmacogenomics testing helps reduce traditional trial and error treatments done in traditional psychiatry.

Basically, when you take medication your liver releases enzymes to break it down to remove it from your body. And this is why you must take medications. So, in the same way, each day it maintains the proper and consistent amount of medication in your system. Every person’s genes create enzymes that break down medication at varying rates. So the rate of breakdown has a direct effect on how much of the medication stays in your system and the benefit you may derive.

There are 4 kinds of metabolizers (Phenotypes).

Essentially, there are four types that represent the rate at which a person can break down and use the medication in the body.

  • Ultra-rapid metabolizers:  So, these individuals will break down medications rapidly and may not get enough medicine at the normal dose; these individuals may need higher doses of medication to achieve the same result.
  • Extensive metabolizers (normal):  These individuals break down medications normally a have the normal amounts of medication at normal doses.
  • Intermediate metabolizers:  These individuals take longer to break down medications and they may have too much medication at the normal dose these individuals require much lower doses and a longer period to achieve the same effect as a normal metabolizer.
  • Poor metabolizers:  These individuals break down medications very slowly and may never experience therapeutic effects and may even experience side effects much sooner than normal metabolizers.

What is a gene?

A gene is a DNA sequence that codes for a specific protein.

So, genes make proteins in your brain that are used by medications to have their intended effect, but these changes in the genes may affect your chance of responding to medications. Also, this increases the chance of side effects. Medications metabolize through multiple active and inactive genetic pathways; this explains why some medications will or will not work.

What is an allele?

An allele is a version of the gene

What is an enzyme?

An enzyme is a protein that works to produce a specific biochemical reaction.

How Pharmacogenics can help you

The diagnosis of a psychiatric condition is based on a constellation of symptoms presenting in a specific manner. However, many undying factors can be the root cause of the psychiatric condition. Given all this ambiguity it is essential to be evaluated by an expert in the field. They can employ pharmacogenomics to bring diagnostic clarity and treatment specificity.

About Metro Medical Direct

Dr. Raymond Zakhari is the owner and operator of Metro Medical Direct and provides Telehealth and in-home visits. Also, he provides in-home alcohol and drug rehabilitation. Book an appointment here and check out the rest of this site for more information about concierge medicine.

Also, check out Dr. Ray’s Podcast The Psychology of it All here. Also available on Apple Podcasts.