Wednesday, September 16, 2015

PHARMACOGENOMICS

Best Depression Medication Is Sand On Your Toes


Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genes affect a person's response to drugs. This relatively new field combines pharmacology (the science of drugs) and genomics (the study of genes and their functions) to develop effective, safe medications and doses that will be tailored to a person's genetic makeup.  

This is what the American Medical Association has to say about pharmacogenomics.
“Anticipated benefits of pharmacogenomics
Pharmacogenomics has the potential to provide tailored drug therapy based on genetically determined variation in effectiveness and side effects. This will mean:
  • More powerful medicines - Pharmaceutical companies will be able to produce therapies more targeted to specific diseases, maximizing therapeutic effects while decreasing damage to nearby healthy cells.
  • Better, safer drugs the first time - Recovery time will go down and safety will go up as the likelihood of adverse reactions goes down or is eliminated altogether.
  • More accurate methods of determining appropriate drug dosages - Current methods of basing dosages on weight and age will be replaced with dosages based on a person's genetics --how well the body processes the medicine and the time it takes to metabolize it.”
Some of the present studies being done are to see if they can do a better job matching the right medication with a particular person who is experiencing depression.  As anyone who has ever taken medications for depression knows the process is a major hit or miss proposition.  I am not even sure there is a good medication for depression.  In fact, I am not sure there is a good definition for depression even in DSM-5.

However, I still like the idea of being able to better match medications to the person because I know one size does not fit all no matter what class of medications we are talking about.  From cancer meds to psych meds it would be great to match meds to people based on how the person will respond to the drug because of their genetic makeup.

I just hope all this does not turn into more forced treatment, but rather better treatment for those who want it.

© Ed Cooper, September 16, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
  All rights reserved

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