As a board-certified psychiatrist, I have more than 20 years of clinical experience. I am the medical director and owner of the Nashville Brain Institute which has locations in Nashville, Hermitage and Brentwood, Tenn. Previously, I was the attending and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
My philosophy in patient care is finding the root cause of illnesses by focusing on the harmonious nature of the body and mind. Our goal at the Nashville Brain Institute is not simply to prescribe medications but to discover the root cause of a patient’s brain dysfunctions and arrive at an integrated treatment plan.
With a PhD in psychopharmacology, I have an acute interest in how genetic testing can provide personalized care for our patients. Part of our approach is creating customized treatments for our patients, guided by genetic testing.
Quite simply, I want to help my patients improve their psychiatric or neurological conditions so they can live a better and healthier life.
Importance of Individualizing Treatment
One of the day-to-day challenges I face is finding medications that help my patients. It’s a lot of trial and error, which makes many patients wonder why a particular medication did not work. Clinicians too can get frustrated when many medications will not work.
Before the GeneSight test, my approach to prescribing medication was to look at the patient’s psychological history and their family history. For example, if the patient’s mother had depression and had some success with a particular medication, that’s what I may prescribe to the patient. Sometimes that may be right and sometimes that may be wrong.
We try to individualize a patient’s treatment plan because each patient is different – their genetic composition is also different. It is very hard to predict how a patient responds to or metabolizes medication without knowing their genetic profile.
GeneSight Is a Resource to Help My Patients
That’s why all of our locations and prescribing practitioners now use the GeneSight test. I did a lot of research before deciding to try the GeneSight test and reviewed all the available clinical studies. My conclusion is that the GeneSight test could be something to help my patients.
The GeneSight test can give some clues about the patient’s potential response to any particular medications – either the medication can be metabolized faster or metabolized slower. It can let the patient know they might have a particular genetic issue with any particular medication.
I like to order the GeneSight test for every new patient, as many of them have been on medications previously. It is especially helpful for patients who have had a bad experience with antidepressant medications or had bad side effects. I am not going to just prescribe something else and hope it works. I want to give the patients some confidence that it has a better chance of working. I review the GeneSight test results with patients, who have told me they find it easy to understand and interpret.
I view the test as a resource I can use to help 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 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.