Mental health conditions can affect different people in different ways, and each person may need their own uniquely tailored medication regimen to control symptoms and provide relief. One factor that can affect which medications work best for you is your genetic makeup.
As a board-certified psychiatrist, Dr. Ifeanyi Olele of Genesis Psychiatric Solutions sees patients with a wide range of mental health issues and uses gene testing to help narrow down which medications may be most effective for individual treatment plans.
Understanding gene testing
Gene testing to help us determine your likely physiological response to different medications is known as pharmacogenomics testing.
We’re hopeful that eventually this type of testing can also help predict the likelihood of familial mental illness, but currently it’s more accurate and useful at finding out which drugs are most likely to work for someone who already has a diagnosis.
Two people can have the exact same mental illness, but respond differently to different medications based on their genetic makeup. This can mean weeks, months, or even years of trial and error trying to find the right medication or combination of medications that works best for you.
Pharmacogenomics testing provides a faster, more reliable path to personalized medication management.The testing is designed to analyze exactly how your genes interact with different commonly used psychiatric medications.
The gene testing process
There are three steps to gene testing for psychiatric medication management. A member of our team:
- Swabs the inside of your cheek to get a DNA sample
- Packages the swab appropriately and sends it to a laboratory for gene testing
- Reviews the results of the analysis and uses them to choose the best medications and dosages for you
The results of pharmacogenomics testing can show how your body metabolizes medications, which can be crucial when treating certain conditions that require a baseline amount of medications to be in your body at all times.
Gene testing may be covered by your insurer. Discuss this test with our office and your insurer before we order the test so you know if there is any additional cost.
With proper treatment and medication, most mental health conditions are manageable. Gene testing can be one part of unlocking the puzzle to the best treatment for your unique case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Olele.
Or ask about available telepsychiatry appointments. Telepsychiatry is a convenient option if you live too far from one of our offices, which are located in Fairfax and Alexandria, Virginia; Washington, DC; Los Angeles, California; and Boca Raton, Florida.