1. Home
  2. Provider Stories
  3. GeneSight® could be the difference in months of trouble vs. months of thriving

GeneSight® could be the difference in months of trouble vs. months of thriving

I’m a child psychiatrist with the Arc of Ozarks practice in Springfield, Missouri. We see pediatric patients for a variety of mental health issues – from autism and neurodevelopmental disabilities to general pediatric psychiatry.

I was an early adopter of the GeneSight test; I’ve used it for more than 10 years. I started using it because I found the trial-and-error nature of psychiatry equivalent to throwing spaghetti at wall to see what sticks. We all want to do better than that.

I don’t think of the GeneSight test as the “right drug” test. It doesn’t tell you which medication will definitely work. I think of it more like the “not the wrong drug” test.

The way I use the GeneSight test is that the test helps me rule out the medications that I’m not going to try first. And it’s not just the ones in the green category. I sometimes find medications in the yellow or even red category are best suited for a patient at a lower or higher dosage because of their diagnosis and information in the clinical considerations.

Patient Story: photo of Kyle John

The GeneSight test is personal for me

I’m a big believer in talk or psychotherapy before medication. Yet, my nephew had gone through two rounds of talk therapy when in high school. When he was a college freshman, his anxiety was overwhelming, and he had to move back home.

When my brother asked me to prescribe something, I said, “Not without ordering the GeneSight test first.”

When the GeneSight test results came back for my nephew, I realized the first couple of meds I would have prescribed may have been poor choices. It could have been the difference in months of trouble vs. months of thriving.

Today, my nephew is no longer at his parent’s home debilitated by mental health challenges. He’s moved away, graduated college and he got married this summer. He is happy and healthy. And he’s no longer taking medication.

So, when patients ask if I would order the GeneSight test for a family member, I share that story.

Go beyond the green

I tell other clinicians that the benefits of this technology are high. And significant.

I tell other clinicians: “you’ve got to go beyond the green.” I’ve had times when the medication that most helps a patient is in the red zone. By using the clinical considerations, I see that I may need to use a super low dose and act accordingly.

In my opinion, we should use this technology early in a child’s life because our genetics aren’t going to change. If you could know this info at two years old, someone at 20 years old may not have to struggle through multiple medications trials.

Finally, I’ve found the GeneSight test helps me talk with parents who may have anxiety about putting their child on medication. Frankly, that’s good if a parent is nervous about medication – you want to do what’s best for your child and parents who are nervous ask a lot of questions about medication. So, with a GeneSight test result in hand, I can explain how I can narrow down choices to those that I think may be better tolerated. When I show them the report, a lot of times, they seem relieved and say: “OK, then we’re in.” They get a sense of confidence that it’s not going to be the trial-and-error journey they’ve had in the past.

The GeneSight test is one more important piece of data that I can use to help deliver better outcomes for my patients.

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 contact us at 855.891.9415. If you are a patient, please talk with your doctor to see if the GeneSight test may be helpful.