As a physician assistant at a psychiatric and mental health facility in Wisconsin, I have administered nearly 100 GeneSight tests to patients ranging in age from 5 to 70. Many of my patients have been referred by inpatient hospitals with limited available psychiatric care.
We now use the GeneSight test as part of the intake process. Insurance is requiring shorter and shorter windows of time for day treatment to succeed. Considering that some antidepressants can take more than two weeks [for a patient to see symptom relief], the faster we can get there the better.
I began using the GeneSight test to help improve patient adherence to treatment. I believe the GeneSight test allows patients to trust that the medications chosen will help reduce their risk for side effects.
If you want to get patients on board, you have to give them a real opportunity to succeed.
As a result, I have seen an increase in trust between me and my patients, 30% of whom are seniors.
They’ve tried a lot and are reluctant to try more. The GeneSight test helps them to understand why medications failed. They get a possible explanation and learn what options are out there. They are more involved and more willing to try.
Using Data for Treatment Decisions
The GeneSight test has made my treatment decisions more efficient and consistent.
The clinical considerations in the GeneSight report are critically important, particularly the report’s in-depth look at the P450 system (a protein that plays a key role in drug metabolism).
Mental health has no data to start with. Data is there to help you make decisions, not confuse you. The data from GeneSight test results has helped me counsel patients who may be resistant to medication. I was treating a six-year-old child with mental health issues who was starting first grade. The child’s parents were very opposed to using medication treatment. Yet, during consultation with them, I talked about how I choose medications with the help of the GeneSight test. With this data in hand, the parents “got on board right away.” The child started on an appropriate medication, which his parents believed helped the child’s school experience.
In fact, both parents then wanted the GeneSight test for themselves. After each parent started on medications, they acknowledged the GeneSight test had opened their eyes, and said it changed their whole outlook.
I am a big advocate for the GeneSight test. Any tool that can give us data and individualize treatment plans, helps everyone feel more comfortable.
This story is one clinician’s personal experience. Other experiences may vary.
As with all genetic tests, the GeneSight test results have limitations and do not constitute medical advice. The test results are designed to be just one part of a larger, complete patient assessment, which would include proper diagnosis and consideration of medical history, other medications being taken, family history, and other factors.
If you are a healthcare provider and interested in learning more about the GeneSight test, please call us at 855.891.9415. If you are a patient, please talk with your doctor to see if the GeneSight test may be helpful.