Depression is a complicated condition, and so are the people it affects. It’s often difficult — and can take months or even years — to find the right drugs to treat the heterogeneous mood disorder.
But for decades, doctors have been treating depression essentially by prescribing a drug and hoping for the best. They rely on asking people about their family history of mental illness and fold in as much information as they can about symptoms. Since 2010, however, there has been a genetic test that can help doctors learn how a person’s genetic makeup can also affect their response to various antidepressants.
In a new study presented at the American Psychiatric Association annual meeting, researchers say that people using the test, called GeneSight, are 50% more likely to achieve remission after eight weeks, and 30% more likely to the respond to the drugs the test recommended, compared to people treated without the test. (The study has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal.)