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    Genetic Testing Improves Patients’ Lives Through Precision Medicine

    The Genomind Pharmacogenetic (PGx) Test is a remarkable technologic advance that has significantly improved our ability to successfully treat patients. At Potomac Psychiatry I include the test in each new patient evaluation, and in the past two years I have performed the assay on hundreds of patients. I have discovered many benefits to genetic testing.

    Patients like genetic testing

    First, patients like the test. The results of the assay help them to understand why certain medications can work to help them feel better and why others have not. When I first interpret the meaning of the genetic variations to our patients, many feel relieved and some openly weep for joy that there is a scientific reason that their meds were not working for them. They are encouraged and hopeful that we have a new, scientific tool that can help us better predict what specific treatments will be best for them.

    Genetic testing helps avoid trial and error medication management

    Secondly, for those coming to our practice for the first time, the genetic assays help us avoid time consuming and costly trial-and-error approaches to medication management. The Assay improves treatment outcomes by enabling us to select those medications more likely to alleviate symptoms and have fewer side effects.

    Genetic test results provide valuable data that can be used to optimize treatments

    Lastly, I also see many new patients who have failed to adequately respond to prior treatment elsewhere. For this more challenging population, the Genomind Pharmacogenetic (PGx) Test helps me to prescribe a stepwise treatment approach that combines both psychotropic medications and supplements. Based upon the specific genetic variations we can then develop a combination therapy protocol that optimizes treatment response in most patients, at times resulting in a full remission of symptoms.

    Genetic testing using Genomind's Pharmacogenetic (PGx) Test, helps Potomac Psychiatry doctors develop successful treatments that include precision medicine

    “Alan” is a good example of how genetic testing can dramatically improve a patient’s treatment outcome. He had a longstanding history of depression, and SSRI-drug-induced hypomania. Prior to seeing me he had been unsuccessfully treated with several medications including Tegretol, which resulted in hives, and then Depakote, which caused severe cognitive problems. Those were discontinued and Lithium had been added. He came to my office complaining of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and negative thoughts. I added Latuda to his Lithium and ordered laboratory tests which revealed a mildly elevated white blood count attributed to the lithium, mild anemia, and low Vitamin D. His other blood chemistry and hormone test results were normal. One month into treatment his episodic anxiety, panic attacks, negative thinking, trouble paying attention, reduced memory, irritability, loss of appetite, and social withdrawal had not improved at all despite increases in Latuda and Lithium, drugs that “should have worked.”

    We then performed Genomind genetic testing, which revealed genetic variations in the following genes; SLC6A4, 5-HT2C, ANK3, COMT (VAL/VAL), MTHFR and CYP2D6 (ultra-rapid metabolizer). Based on these results we added, and then slowly increased, Wellbutrin and Lamictal. Several weeks later he reported that “I am doing much better and I’m getting things done.” “I am sleeping well and feeling more accomplished.” He began to take better care of himself including bathing daily, seeing an ophthalmologist and a dentist, and had arranged for psychotherapy. We then added Deplin, phosphatidylserine, and green tea, to further “tune” his regimen and compensate for the effects of his genetic variants. Over time he felt so much better that he was able to begin attending college classes again. *
    I am delighted to report that I routinely hear patients and their families describe their experiences with genetic testing and the resulting improvement in their quality of life: “This has been a blessing. “ “I feel excited about this.” “It’s working!” “My husband is calmer than ever before.”

    Because of these significant outcomes I have become highly dependent upon the Genomind Pharmacogenetic (PGx) Test as an essential tool that enhances my ability to provide the best possible care. It is at the forefront of the emerging field of Precision Medicine.

    * Many other examples of how the Genomind Pharmacogenetic (PGx) Test can be used can be found on my Blog.

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