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Pharmacogenetic testing can be performed for certain psychiatric medications in order to determine a more effective or tolerable choice for treatment.

The vast majority of pharmacogenetic testing is performed and implemented with antidepressants. Many individuals who are prescribed antidepressants do not respond to their first choice of medication, and this may lead to impediments to recover. It is often the case that a trial an error process takes place before a person responds to psychiatric medications. This can be problematic because of the time that elapses before recovery, as well as exposing a person to potential adverse side effects from psychiatric medications that have no benefit to them.


Some patients do not respond to treatment, and genetic researchers believe that there may be a genetic reason for their non-response. Often if an antidepressant is tolerated and improves symptoms for a family member, it will have a higher chance of success on a patient. Since each person has a unique way that they metabolize psychotropic drugs, exploring a pharmacogentic approach to narrowing down which antidepressant is the better choice to begin treatment.

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