I’m a child and adolescent psychiatric nurse practitioner. My practice serves a large geography in Southern Illinois, across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. I provide psychiatric services and medication management services in four locations and to many area residential group homes throughout the area.
Many of the patients I see are children or teenagers, so their parents are very involved in treatment decisions. These decisions are not easy for parents, who have concerns about putting their child on a medication for the first time. There is a lot that is unknown, and it can be scary for them.
For other parents, whose child may have tried numerous medications, it can be frustrating and discouraging to see them fail medications that are supposed to help them feel better.
Any information I can give parents in this treatment process can give them peace of mind.
The GeneSight Psychotropic Test Provides Insight
After hearing about the GeneSight test at a medical conference five years ago, I knew it was something I wanted to learn more about. The speaker shared a pediatric case study and it really resonated with me.
As I listened, I thought about how much easier it would be to have the GeneSight test results in hand when talking about medication decisions with parents. I’d have something to help me explain why I was making the treatment recommendations I was making – and it could help parents understand that I was using data and information that was specific to their child. It could give them something tangible.
Now, I order the GeneSight test multiple times a week. I often see patients who have failed 2 or more medications, so ordering the test helps me understand why they may have failed in the first place.
Helping a Teenager with Treatment-Resistant Depression
One of the success stories I often share is about a teenager, who suffered from major depressive disorder since he was 12. The boy felt so sad and hopeless.
He had taken several different antidepressants, augmented with different antipsychotics. Despite all these medication changes, he wasn’t feeling any better. After three years of trial-and-error, he was sitting in my office, sobbing and saying it was never going to get better.
With his parents’ permission, I ordered the GeneSight test and I found that he had gene-drug interaction issues with most of the medications he was taking. We agreed on a revised treatment plan, which included prescribing a medication where he didn’t have gene-drug interactions. After some tweaking with dosage, my patient started to improve and became a different kid. He started doing great in school and driving.
For me, this story underscores why I order the GeneSight test. Without having the information of the patient’s significant gene/drug interactions, I could have put together 100 different medication combinations. In fact, I may have never chosen that medication decision on my own.
The GeneSight Test Provides Peace of Mind
The GeneSight test provides something very important for my patients and their parents. They finally have a possible reason for why a medication they’ve taken hasn’t worked. It helps them understand that there might be a genetic reason they’ve failed a medication. For those patients – and their parents – they finally feel like they want to try a new treatment plan.
For me, the GeneSight test is another tool in my toolbox that helps me make a good decision for my patients. The bottom line is that the GeneSight test has really helped me in my practice because it has helped me improve outcomes for my patients.