Genetic Tests for Depression Treatment Aren’t Effective, Experts Say

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Though psychiatrists see the potential of genetic tests for depression treatment, many doctors warn that those on the market aren’t up to snuff.(Image: © Shutterstock)

Dozens of companies invite customers to swab their cheeks, spit into a tube, and find out which antidepressant is right for them.

Their products — pharmacogenomic tests — aim to predict how someone with depression will respond to medications based on that person’s genetic makeup, sparing them from the trial-and-error that often comes with selecting an antidepressant. Some companies, such as Color Genomics, require that a physician order the test. But many testing products can be ordered by consumers directly.  A handful have been FDA-approved.

Though psychiatrists see the potential of these tests, many doctors warn that those on the market aren’t up to snuff. They say that hundreds of genes may affect depression, and that studies demonstrating the benefit of these tests are lacking.

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Related: I Took 9 Different Commercial DNA Tests and Got 6 Different Results

More than 17 million people in the U.S. have experienced depression for at least two weeks. Common antidepressants might take six weeks or more to kick in. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

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