Why Genetic Testing for Mental Health Meds is Important

Posted by ainsleigh @ainsleigh, Feb 11, 2019

@ainsleigh– Recently we learned that my 19 year old Grandson (who has been diagnosed with depression, panic attacks and anxiety) has not been
on the right medication. In fact the one he has been on was in the red (wrong) zone as opposed to green or yellow. Needless-to-say he is tapering off it in preparation to be put on one in the green zone! We did learn this through the Genetic Testing. If you are able to access this testing I would really recommend it!
Best wishes
Ainsleigh

@sears

Why aren’t doctors more on board with this testing?

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@sears — That's an interesting question. After I did the Mayo Clinic GeneGuide testing I was asked if I wanted to give my permission for it's use by my doctors and I said absolutely. I think my Mayo primary care team can access the information if needed. Not sure I would want the health insurance companies seeing genetic data but that may just be me. Here's some information that may provide some understanding from a physicians perspective.
f
Routine DNA Screening Moves Into Primary Care
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/05/22/613090774/routine-dna-screening-moves-into-primary-care

Genetic Testing: A Physician's Perspective
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10747371/

What Is the Role of Nongeneticist Physicians, and Are They Prepared for It?
https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/article/what-role-nongeneticist-physicians-and-are-they-prepared-it/2009-09

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@colleenyoung

Hi @summertime4, you'll notice that I moved your message to this existing discussion called "Why Genetic Testing for Mental Health Meds is Important." I did this so you can meet others who are talking about gene testing and how it can help determine the medications that may and likely won't help you.

In addition to the information that @ainsleigh @rachel123 and @mpm1 shared, I'd also like to bring @wsh66 and @johnbishop into this discussion. Steve has used GeneSight I believe and John used Mayo's GeneGuide and I hope they'll share their experiences.

Summertime, has your doctor recommended that you get gene testing done or was this something you are exploring to gather info?

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Genetic testing sounds interesting for those of us who are medication resistant or sensitive, but most likely it is out of pocket expense and not covered under Medicare which would make this option cost prohibitive for me.

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@marjou

Genetic testing sounds interesting for those of us who are medication resistant or sensitive, but most likely it is out of pocket expense and not covered under Medicare which would make this option cost prohibitive for me.

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@marjou – probably for most of us genetic testing is not covered but in some cases it might be. I found some information that may help you determine whether or not it is covered by Medicare.

Medicare Coverage for Genetic Tests: Know the Facts — https://www.medicareadvocacy.org/medicare-coverage-for-genetic-tests-know-the-facts/

Liked by marjou

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@johnbishop

@marjou – probably for most of us genetic testing is not covered but in some cases it might be. I found some information that may help you determine whether or not it is covered by Medicare.

Medicare Coverage for Genetic Tests: Know the Facts — https://www.medicareadvocacy.org/medicare-coverage-for-genetic-tests-know-the-facts/

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I went through the Genesight company and my test was completely covered. I'm not positive if I was on Medicare at that time but I believe I was. My son got his test through MA and it was completely covered . If it's not covered, inquire of them what it would cost because the last time I spoke with them they had a sliding fee for people who didn't have insurance. You can waste a lot of money on a few months worth of drugs that don't work for you and put yourself through a lot of misery as well. I know nothing about Mayo's testing cost or what they test for but Genesight was the first on the market.

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@johnbishop

@marjou – probably for most of us genetic testing is not covered but in some cases it might be. I found some information that may help you determine whether or not it is covered by Medicare.

Medicare Coverage for Genetic Tests: Know the Facts — https://www.medicareadvocacy.org/medicare-coverage-for-genetic-tests-know-the-facts/

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Thank you for info.

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@wsh66

I went through the Genesight company and my test was completely covered. I'm not positive if I was on Medicare at that time but I believe I was. My son got his test through MA and it was completely covered . If it's not covered, inquire of them what it would cost because the last time I spoke with them they had a sliding fee for people who didn't have insurance. You can waste a lot of money on a few months worth of drugs that don't work for you and put yourself through a lot of misery as well. I know nothing about Mayo's testing cost or what they test for but Genesight was the first on the market.

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Appreciate this information. Thanks

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@cookie6845

Hi, I'm new to this board and am wondering if any of you have had success with genetic testing for depression? My PA doesn't recommend it – says it's too expensive and test results can limit what insurance companies will cover. Would appreciate your feedback.
I've been on Effexor for 25 years and am in the process of weaning myself off. I HATE Effexor!!! I've tried to get off of it in the past and ended up going back on it due to the side effects. I've been on 75 MG for years. I've gone to 37.50 for the past 7 days and now and taking the 37.50 every other day for 7 days. On the 15th day I'll start on Lexapro. Have any of you had success with Lexapro? Thanks for any advice you can give me.

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Hi cookie6845 I wanted to respond because I can relate to not wanting to be on effexor! I was on it (venlafaxine) for almost 20 years. I successfully got off in February 2020 (right as Covid-19 was peaking everywhere). It was a horrible ordeal to go through the withdrawals… I'm not sure how much was exacerbated by timing (pandemic stress). But the good news is there is life after effexor! I posted a lot about my experience in Feb on a Mayo thread 'getting off venlafaxine' (something like that title). I might have done better tapering with a 'helper' antidepressant like Lexapro but decided I could handle it knowing what I was in for… I felt I was going crazy but just kept telling myself it was 'okay' that my brain would eventually re-adjust, and eventually it did. But for 2 weeks I felt like I was on hallucinatory drugs day & night – not fun. Anyway – the REASON I am posting here is that 3 years ago I had 2 types of genetic testing (one may have been Genomind). What matters MOST is to have someone qualified to interpret the results. In my case my MD/Psychiatrist said I was deficient in several important neuro-related nutrients/supplements and that if I brought those to functioning levels I wouldn't BE depressed. At the time I did not believe him (as I said, for ~20yrs I 'needed' venlafaxine). About a year later I had established a consistent routine of the recommended supplements. A year after consistently taking these I began having the strange sensation of feeling happy for 'no particular reason'. I also began to notice venlafaxine made me fuzzy-brained. So I began lowering the dose (gradually) which actually made me feel – Less Depressed! So in my case, genetic testing was key to resolving my depression. I was not offered a 'cure' for depression – I had sought genetic testing for a completely separate issue. But the geneticist told me I was seriously deficient in several important vital 'nutrients' that would make me healthier overall. Once I supplemented with these consistently (took 2 years) I was no longer depressed. Every person is different – that's why genetic testing is so important. In the hands of a skilled neuro-geneticist your own individual needs can be assessed. The solution for me would not be applicable to you (or anyone else) because were not genetic equivalents! We all have unique needs. The sooner Doctors learn how to use this testing the better – cookie-cutter medicine should be a thing of the past… It will help with the current system of 'trial and error' prescription of psychotropic medication that causes so much stress and heartache…

Liked by gldnrtrvrlvr, marjou

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@flind

Hi cookie6845 I wanted to respond because I can relate to not wanting to be on effexor! I was on it (venlafaxine) for almost 20 years. I successfully got off in February 2020 (right as Covid-19 was peaking everywhere). It was a horrible ordeal to go through the withdrawals… I'm not sure how much was exacerbated by timing (pandemic stress). But the good news is there is life after effexor! I posted a lot about my experience in Feb on a Mayo thread 'getting off venlafaxine' (something like that title). I might have done better tapering with a 'helper' antidepressant like Lexapro but decided I could handle it knowing what I was in for… I felt I was going crazy but just kept telling myself it was 'okay' that my brain would eventually re-adjust, and eventually it did. But for 2 weeks I felt like I was on hallucinatory drugs day & night – not fun. Anyway – the REASON I am posting here is that 3 years ago I had 2 types of genetic testing (one may have been Genomind). What matters MOST is to have someone qualified to interpret the results. In my case my MD/Psychiatrist said I was deficient in several important neuro-related nutrients/supplements and that if I brought those to functioning levels I wouldn't BE depressed. At the time I did not believe him (as I said, for ~20yrs I 'needed' venlafaxine). About a year later I had established a consistent routine of the recommended supplements. A year after consistently taking these I began having the strange sensation of feeling happy for 'no particular reason'. I also began to notice venlafaxine made me fuzzy-brained. So I began lowering the dose (gradually) which actually made me feel – Less Depressed! So in my case, genetic testing was key to resolving my depression. I was not offered a 'cure' for depression – I had sought genetic testing for a completely separate issue. But the geneticist told me I was seriously deficient in several important vital 'nutrients' that would make me healthier overall. Once I supplemented with these consistently (took 2 years) I was no longer depressed. Every person is different – that's why genetic testing is so important. In the hands of a skilled neuro-geneticist your own individual needs can be assessed. The solution for me would not be applicable to you (or anyone else) because were not genetic equivalents! We all have unique needs. The sooner Doctors learn how to use this testing the better – cookie-cutter medicine should be a thing of the past… It will help with the current system of 'trial and error' prescription of psychotropic medication that causes so much stress and heartache…

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Thank you for your intelligent post relating to your journey with genetic testing and how it has helped you. You give me hope and encouragement in pursuing this as an option. Thanks again for sharing.

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Agree. Why isn't this used as a tool to help patients seek better options versus the hit n miss of medications?

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@marjou

Agree. Why isn't this used as a tool to help patients seek better options versus the hit n miss of medications?

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Many of us did use kinetic testing to avoid the hit-and-miss process with psychotropic meds. I think some doctors are insecure having a test tell them what they should prescribe for their patients. You can go to the website and put in your zip code and they will furnish you a list of doctors who will administer the test and explain the results. Then you can take it to your clinic and you are doctor and have it made a part of your permanent medical record. When doctors see these reports they understand that this is something they should be doing because of the wealth of information, page after page after page, detailing how you will metabolize three different classes of drugs is just invaluable.

Liked by gldnrtrvrlvr

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@flind

Hi cookie6845 I wanted to respond because I can relate to not wanting to be on effexor! I was on it (venlafaxine) for almost 20 years. I successfully got off in February 2020 (right as Covid-19 was peaking everywhere). It was a horrible ordeal to go through the withdrawals… I'm not sure how much was exacerbated by timing (pandemic stress). But the good news is there is life after effexor! I posted a lot about my experience in Feb on a Mayo thread 'getting off venlafaxine' (something like that title). I might have done better tapering with a 'helper' antidepressant like Lexapro but decided I could handle it knowing what I was in for… I felt I was going crazy but just kept telling myself it was 'okay' that my brain would eventually re-adjust, and eventually it did. But for 2 weeks I felt like I was on hallucinatory drugs day & night – not fun. Anyway – the REASON I am posting here is that 3 years ago I had 2 types of genetic testing (one may have been Genomind). What matters MOST is to have someone qualified to interpret the results. In my case my MD/Psychiatrist said I was deficient in several important neuro-related nutrients/supplements and that if I brought those to functioning levels I wouldn't BE depressed. At the time I did not believe him (as I said, for ~20yrs I 'needed' venlafaxine). About a year later I had established a consistent routine of the recommended supplements. A year after consistently taking these I began having the strange sensation of feeling happy for 'no particular reason'. I also began to notice venlafaxine made me fuzzy-brained. So I began lowering the dose (gradually) which actually made me feel – Less Depressed! So in my case, genetic testing was key to resolving my depression. I was not offered a 'cure' for depression – I had sought genetic testing for a completely separate issue. But the geneticist told me I was seriously deficient in several important vital 'nutrients' that would make me healthier overall. Once I supplemented with these consistently (took 2 years) I was no longer depressed. Every person is different – that's why genetic testing is so important. In the hands of a skilled neuro-geneticist your own individual needs can be assessed. The solution for me would not be applicable to you (or anyone else) because were not genetic equivalents! We all have unique needs. The sooner Doctors learn how to use this testing the better – cookie-cutter medicine should be a thing of the past… It will help with the current system of 'trial and error' prescription of psychotropic medication that causes so much stress and heartache…

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Thank you for taking the time to reply. Your description of weaning off depression meds is wonderful. I have done the same thing but find I still suffer from it more than I would like. I do notice the empty, hopeless, exhausted, sad (and so on and so on) feelings seem to increase when I eat foods that are empty of nutrients. After a few days of those kinds of foods, it may take a week or more for me to "balance" again. I frankly just thought it was me being silly and finding a "reason" for these awful feelings when there truly is no connection between nutrition and "mental health". Now to find a Physician that is willing to work with me. My current Dr. has refused to acknowledge any connection between diet and mental health. She wants me to go back on an anti-depressant. Nope. I have developed a liver issue although the Dr. says the med wasn't a factor. My experience tells me different. Again…valuable information. Thank you.

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@mitzisil

Thank you for taking the time to reply. Your description of weaning off depression meds is wonderful. I have done the same thing but find I still suffer from it more than I would like. I do notice the empty, hopeless, exhausted, sad (and so on and so on) feelings seem to increase when I eat foods that are empty of nutrients. After a few days of those kinds of foods, it may take a week or more for me to "balance" again. I frankly just thought it was me being silly and finding a "reason" for these awful feelings when there truly is no connection between nutrition and "mental health". Now to find a Physician that is willing to work with me. My current Dr. has refused to acknowledge any connection between diet and mental health. She wants me to go back on an anti-depressant. Nope. I have developed a liver issue although the Dr. says the med wasn't a factor. My experience tells me different. Again…valuable information. Thank you.

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GeneSight testing could tell you if perhaps you were taking a drug you couldn't metabolize and show you one you can. Google it a learn more. I found it very usefull

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Here is link to MAYO site. They have discontinued April 30, 2020.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/mayoclinic-geneguide

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@cookie6845

Hi, I'm new to this board and am wondering if any of you have had success with genetic testing for depression? My PA doesn't recommend it – says it's too expensive and test results can limit what insurance companies will cover. Would appreciate your feedback.
I've been on Effexor for 25 years and am in the process of weaning myself off. I HATE Effexor!!! I've tried to get off of it in the past and ended up going back on it due to the side effects. I've been on 75 MG for years. I've gone to 37.50 for the past 7 days and now and taking the 37.50 every other day for 7 days. On the 15th day I'll start on Lexapro. Have any of you had success with Lexapro? Thanks for any advice you can give me.

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'Love Lexapro~~it really works for me!

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@wheelerma ME TOO! I also love Lexapro. I still have depression off and on, probably like a normal person. I feel so sorry for my son, because he's Bipolar 1 and really struggles, but his wife protects him. He wanted to come back for his Grandmother's funeral, but she thought it would make him worse again. I think my son is being controlled by his wife. It's hard because we have no contact with him or my precious granddaughter Marlowe. I haven't seen her since she was 3 years old and she is now 8. I do see her by skyping with her, but only if she's at her grandmother's house in Chicago. They are both professors, but my son can't teach because of his Bipolar 1. His wife is a very successful professor and she was teaching at Duke and got her tenur (SP). They are now in NYC and shes at Columbia U. That's enough to make me depressed, but Lexapro has helped and all I can do is pray, come home son.

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