Pharmacogenetics, the study of genetic variation that influences an individual's response to drugs, is an important and growing focus in all of medical research, including psychiatry. It is a complex field, however, revealed by the lack of consistent and replicable findings across multiple studies, but some encouraging results are beginning to emerge.
A new study evaluated genetic markers in the treatment response of antidepressants and this work implicates the same markers as found in a prior trial.
Lekman and colleagues, using clinical data and DNA samples from the largest depression treatment study to date, the STAR*D study, compared individual treatment response (the reduction or remission of depressive symptoms) to individual genotypes. The researchers found that certain markers, or variations, in the FKBP5 gene are associated with treatment response to citalopram, a widely used antidepressant drug. In other words, patients with a particular genotype tended to respond better to the antidepressant treatment than others.
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