DNA testing / Genetic Testing in Psychiatry can aide in patient care


"my testing says I can't take SSRIs..."

You know the phrase, "if I had a nickel every time I heard ____ ." Well, if we had a nickel every time we heard a patient say that they were told this or that because of their genetic testing, we would have a lot of nickels!!!!

We were early adopters of DNA testing / Genetic Testing in Psychiatry in the clinical setting back in 2011, and on the frontline of the successful use and application of Genetic testing, but we are very aware of how the testing is misinterpreted and misunderstood.  

Personalizing your Treatment in Medicine
Reviewing a patient's Genetic testing allows our office to more quickly identify treatments, medicines and dosages to maximize clinical benefit for patients.  When our clinicians consider a patient's unique genetic profile it helps them better determine treatment option care for depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions.  We see that the patients do better on antidepressants and other medications that are specifically selected for their metabolism.  These patients get well faster than when we do not have the genetic results and some research has confirmed this observation.  Genetic esting provides clinicians additional information that frequently helps optimize the treatments and dosages for individuals.

How it works
If the team or the clinician recommends genetic testing, we will collect the sample in the office and send a copy of your insurance information (for billing purposes) to one of the genetic testing companies we use in the office. The fees for DNA-Genetic testing can vary depending on your coverage and the types of tests ordered, but often comes with minimal out-of-pocket costs to the patient compared to the time it can save to improve outcomes. We will review the results with you at your follow-up visit as the results are usually available within one to two weeks.

Q: Should I have genetic testing for treatment?
Each individual patient is unique. Testing for genetic variations of the cytochrome P450 enzymes which metabolize most psychiatric medication can help us make better decisions regarding drug choice and dose to ensure our patients are receiving the maximum benefit and minimal adverse effects of a prescribed drug.  

Our clinicians will recommend Genetic-DNA testing after the initial evaluation in our office if it is appropriate.  If you want Genetic- DNA testing, make sure you mention it to our team.  If it is appropriate, we will order the testing.

The FDA has guidelines for medication adjustments on over 120+ prescription medications, and if you are prescribed one of these medications, it will be help to know your genetic results.  

Q: Will genetic testing help with my diagnosis?

No, unfortunately this testing can not reveal a diagnosis.  In fact, any testing that implies that you have or do not have a specific diagnosis can not be correct at this time.  The comprehensive team interview and diagnostic screening tests we do in the office will help determine your diagnosis(es). Genetic testing may help improve outcomes, and shorten time to recovery.  In psychiatry, genetic testing is NOT able to identify diagnoses as brain illnesses share many of the same pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic genes.  We find that genetic testing helps us finesse the treatment options.   

Q: Can genetic testing tell me which medications to use?  
Unfortunately this testing cannot tell you which medications to use or not use; again that is a clinical decision.   The genetic testing alone cannot tell you which medication(s) are best for your particular treatment; this is a  decision which only your clinician and you can make.  As there are often many options, a clinician trained to help with brain diseases and skilled at reviewing genetic testing, can find the appropriate treatments for you and discuss which would be most appealing for you.  According to the most recent research, the decisions informed by the genetic testing results, can often get you well, more quickly than treatment as usual.  

Again, we like Genetic testing to help us finesse a patient's treatment plan, but we believe the testing is only part of the process.   

Come visit us for care, most of our patients are from Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN.