How Can the GeneSight® Test Help Depression Treatment for Older Adults?

Antidepressants have implications for older adults that are not present in younger patients.1 Many older adults take medications for multiple conditions (known as polypharmacy), which puts them at greater risk for potential adverse reactions. The risk of side effects is elevated, including risk of falls and fractures.2

The GeneSight Psychotropic test may help. The GeneSight test is a pharmacogenomic test that evaluates clinically important genetic variations in a person’s DNA. The results of the GeneSight test can inform their doctor about genes that may impact how an individual metabolizes or responds to medications commonly prescribed to treat depression, anxiety, ADHD and other psychiatric conditions.

If you think genetic testing could be helpful for you or someone you care for, start the conversation today.

How Depression is Different in Older Adults

More than 6.5 million Americans aged 65 and older are dealing with some form of depression, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Depression among older adults is linked with longer length of illness and a greater number of chronic medical conditions. Late-life depression can be accompanied by cognitive impairment and sometimes dementia.3

One study showed that older adults with depression had more doctor appointments per year, had more laboratory tests, underwent more radiologic procedures, and had more consultations with medical, surgical, and other specialists compared to non-depressed individuals.4

Factors That Could Increase the Risk of Geriatric Depression

Stressful life events like the death of a spouse, siblings, friends
Living alone
Social isolation
Being female
Being single, unmarried, divorced, or widowed
Physical illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and arthritis5

Signs & Symptoms of Depression

Depression is not always easily recognizable. The first step is being aware of the signs and symptoms of depression. Remember that depression is treatable, and that it’s okay to ask for help.

What Depression
Looks Like
Weight loss or gain
Exhaustion
Frequent unexplained crying
Self-harming
Grumpiness6
What Depression
Feels Like
Sadness and anxiety
Hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness
Restlessness
Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
Confusion
Unique Challenges of Medication
Treatment in Older Adults
Seniors often face multiple chronic illnesses which may mean managing multiple medications. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 89% of older people used at least one prescription and about 68% used three or more prescriptions within a 30 day period. The GeneSight test is just one of the many tools that can help your healthcare provider treat and manage multiple medications.
Seeking Help

The most important step you can take is to talk to your doctor. They can give you a depression screening to confirm that what you are experiencing is depression. If you are, and your provider suggests depression medication, you may be a good candidate for the GeneSight test. Your doctor can use the results of your GeneSight test to understand how your body may metabolize or respond to certain depression medications.

If you are the caregiver for a loved one, talk to them, and encourage them to talk to their doctor. And don’t let cost be a concern; 95% of patients pay $330 or less for the GeneSight test.

Older adults may offer excuses — from denial to cultural or religious attitudes — for not seeking help for their depression. Don’t let these or any other roadblocks get in the way of their mental health.

Learn More About GeneSight® Testing
Please let us know how we can help by filling out the form below.

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Learn More about Depression in Older Adults
Patient Stories
I could see the possibility of a future with happiness -
I have my life back -
I thought to myself: this is incredible -

1 Depression in Later Life: A Diagnostic and Therapeutic Challenge, American Academy of Family Physicians

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4125318/

3 https://alzheimer-recherche.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/ALZ-DEM_-Dementia-and-Depression_2017.pdf

4 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1064748112609646?via%3Dihub

5 https://www.medicinenet.com/depression_in_the_elderly/article.htm

6 https://www.medicinenet.com/depression_in_the_elderly/article.htm

The stories shared on this page are individual patients’ personal experiences with GeneSight. Others may not have the same experience or outcome. Do not make any changes to your current medications or dosing without consulting your healthcare provider. The GeneSight test must be ordered by and used only in consultation with a healthcare provider who can prescribe medications.

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