It might sound like something from a science fiction movie. Someone takes a simple swipe of saliva from you, processes some complicated tests and voila! A plethora of vital information is at your fingertips. You can find out everything from your ancestry to your baby’s likelihood of having a chromosomal defect from these genetic tests. Today, genetic medication testing, also known as pharmacogenetic testing, can even help patients and health care providers discover what medications are best suited for you.
At Traini Counseling based in Flint, MI, we understand that just the simple phrase “genetic medication testing” can be daunting. What exactly are pharmacogenetic tests? Should I get one? Can I afford to? We get it! Read on for some of the most frequently asked questions (and answers) about genetic medication testing.
Q: What is genetic medication testing?
A: Genetic medication testing, also called pharmogenetic testing or pharmacogenomic testing, is the process of testing certain genes to determine how an individual may react to specific medications. Through genetic medication testing, healthcare providers can spend less time using the method of “trial-and-error” dosing for a patient and substantially reduce the risk of adverse drug effects.Here at Traini Counseling, we specifically use GeneSight® for genetic medication testing.
GeneSight® analyzes different genetic variants in your DNA to see how you react to various drugs. GeneSight® looks at pharmacokinetic genes, which tells us how your body metabolizes, or processes medications, and pharmacodynamic genes, which tells us what specific medications do to our body (for example how well, or how poor you may react to that medication.)
Q: What medications does genetic medication testing cover?
GeneSight® currently tests more than forty different antidepressant, anxiolytic and hypnotic, antipsychotic, mood stabilizer, and stimulant and non-stimulant medications commonly prescribed to treat depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other mental health conditions.
To see the full list of medications, click here.
Q: What can I learn from a genetic medication test?
Quite a bit actually!
First of all, even if a family member responds a certain way to a medication, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll react the same way. Your genes are unique to you, and with a GeneSight® test, you and your healthcare provider, such as a psychiatrist and/or therapist, can analyze which medications might work best for you, and thus what treatment plan will get you towards your mental health care goals the safest and quickest.
Specifically, a GeneSight® test will tell you which psychotropic drugs you can use as directed without adverse effects, which drugs you may have moderate reactions to, and which medications you would have significant adverse reactions to. The test will also dictate your genotypes and phenotypes, and tell you in detail how those genes react to medications.
To take a look at a sample GeneSight® test result, click here.
Q: Does my insurance company cover the GeneSight test?
GeneSight® is covered by some government and commercial insurance providers. If you have questions about whether your medical insurance covers the cost of the test, you can read GeneSight®’s insurance coverage page.
Q: How do I start?
To begin the process of getting genetic medication testing, reach out to Traini Counseling here, or call us at (810)-877-6343. Have more questions? You can read more about genetic medication testing here or feel free to contact us. We’re ready to help you achieve mental wellness!