# Genetic Testing for Depression Treatment: Does It Really Work?
Genetic testing has been touted as a game-changer in personalized depression treatment. By identifying a person’s genetic makeup, doctors can choose antidepressants that are more likely to work for them. However, a new study in JAMA Network Open suggests that genetic testing may not be as effective as previously thought.
## The Study
The study was conducted by researchers at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands. They randomly assigned 56 patients to receive antidepressants chosen via genetic testing and 55 patients to receive treatment as usual. All patients received tricyclic antidepressants.
The researchers found that genetic testing did not improve antidepressant efficacy. Both groups had a response rate of only 24%. In addition, there was no significant difference in reduction of depressive symptoms between the two groups.
## Adverse Effects
The study did find a potential benefit of genetic testing. Patients who had antidepressants chosen via genetic testing had less severe side effects after the first four weeks of treatment. However, the study only lasted seven weeks, so it is unclear if this pattern would continue over a longer period.
The study suggests that genetic testing may not be as effective as previously thought in guiding antidepressant treatment. However, the researchers still believe that it has potential benefits in reducing harmful side effects over time.
– Genetic testing may benefit patients with depression. (2022, July 22). VA Research Currents. https://www.research.va.gov/currents/0722-Genetic-testing-may-benefit-patients-with-depression.cfm
– Mayo Clinic Q&A: Genetic testing and antidepressants. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-q-and-a-genetic-testing-and-antidepressants/
– Gene testing to guide antidepressant treatment: Has its time arrived? (2019, October 9). Harvard Health Blog. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/gene-testing-to-guide-antidepressant-treatment-has-its-time-arrived-2019100917964
– Vos, C. F., ter Hark, S. E., Schellekens, A. F. A., Spijker, J., van der Meij, A., Grotenhuis, A. J., . . . & Janzing, J. G. E. (2023). Effectiveness of genotype-specific tricyclic antidepressant dosing in patients with major depressive disorder: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA Network Open, 6(5), e2312443. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.12443 (Link)