• Kerry D. Friesen, MD

Genomic Testing: No More Guessing When It Comes To Treating Depression


Despite the availability of a broad array of antidepressants, two-thirds of individuals with major depressive disorder fail to adequately respond with an initial antidepressant trial of proper dose and duration, and approximately half of this group will not reach remission even with up to three more interventions.

Personalized medicine is a new medical model that uses a patient’s genetic information to optimize care. This new approach uses genomics, your personal genetic makeup, in order to enable a tailored approach to treatment.

Personalized Medicine and You

Personalized medicine is a positive result of discovering the genetic and biological variations that modify the body’s response to various drugs and therapies. By identifying these variations before treatment begins, clinicians can design an optimized treatment plan most likely to be effective for the individual patient. This new development, also known as “pharmacogenomics,” has the potential to increase effectiveness and lower costs for treatment in a wide range of medical specialties.

To date, personalized medicine is most commonly used for physical disorders, such as cancer and anticoagulation, but rarely for mental health disorders. The current standard of care for prescribing psychiatric medication is through patient observation and interview and trial and error prescribing. This typically requires the patient to try new medication for several weeks before its effects can be determined and before adjustments can be made. Personalized medicine will change that. Armed with previously unavailable genetic information, clinicians will be better informed and have a greater chance of prescribing medication that works with your own genetic makeup.

What is the Genecept Assay?

The Genecept Assay - by Genomind - is a low-cost, easy-to-use and non-invasive genetic test. Our test is designed to provide clinicians with a better understanding of how patients suffering from psychiatric disorders may respond to treatment. The results of the test, combined with the expertise of your clinician, will help to achieve better treatment outcomes. The test can be used for a range of psychiatric conditions including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

How does it work?

The collection process takes a saliva sample and analyzes it for genes that can affect how quickly a medicine is absorbed and how well a patient might respond to a given drug. Clinicians can use the test results, in conjunction with currently available research and clinical tools, and a consultation with a psychopharmacologist, to make more informed treatment decisions.

At the FRIESEN CENTER, we specializes in the clinical application of genomic testing and precision prescribing in the treatment of depression and other mood-related health problems.

A family history of depression should be the starting point for patients with treatment based on the Genecept Mood Assay results.

If you have questions, please call: (423)553-9995