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People's genetic makeup can influence how they react to certain drugs, including ones used to treat depression, the Seattle Times reports. It adds that a pharmacogenomics approach to choosing medications could minimize the "trial-and-error phase" of finding an antidepressant that works for a particular patient.

In particular, Barnell Phillips, a psychiatrist at the Archstone Recovery Center of the Palm Beaches in Florida, tells the paper that testing patients' cytochrome P450 and comparing their results to data on how other people with a similar profile reacted to different drugs can help establish how effective a medication may be and whether there might also be side effect to contend with.

Some testing services take a broader look and examine additional genes like CYP2D6, CYP3A4, SLC6A4, CYP2C19, and HTR2A, the Seattle Times adds. It also notes that some studies have found that pharmacogenomics testing can lead to a stronger decline in symptoms. 

"My goal is to put my patients' depression in full remission — just like an oncologist wants to do with cancer," Phillips says.

The Scan

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