Drug Response

Comparison of antidepressants effectiveness and side effects – pharmacogenetics to assist in therapy selection

Reviewed by Alison Wong, RPH. Patients suffering from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental health conditions are frequently facing significant antidepressant side effects and often have a hard time finding the right dose or drug. When the medication is ineffective or the side effects become intolerable, patients...

What is the difference between a drug allergy and drug intolerance?

All medications have the potential to cause side effects such as nausea, dizziness, stomach upset, rashes, and other issues. Pills contain ingredients which are supposed to improve a medication’s taste, color, absorption, or shelf life. Some of these chemicals are allergenic and can cause allergic reactions. Active ingredients of...

What alternative anxiety medication can be used if you cannot tolerate an SSRI?

Reviewed by Alison Wong, RPH. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is generally treated with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). First line SSRIs for GAD treatment include citalopram, escitalopram and sertraline. Clinical trials show response rates of 50% to 60%, remission rates between 25% and 35% and a significant proportion of patients...

Improving PTSD Treatment with Pharmacogenetics

Reviewed by Alison Wong, RPH. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is characterized by nightmares and flashbacks of past traumatic events, avoidance of reminders of trauma, hypervigilance and sleep disturbance. PTSD is often associated with other psychiatric illnesses such as severe anxiety and depression and...

Supplements for depression and anxiety: Are they safe and effective?

Many people are concerned about the safety of antidepressants and are looking for natural alternatives. Although there are several natural products such as St. John’s Wort, S-adenosyl methionine (SAM-e), Rhodiola rosea, and omega-3 which have been shown to have mood stabilizing effects, supplements cannot substitute medications for people with...

Which antidepressants will work best for your post partum depression?

Becoming a mother is a time of immense happiness for most women. But new mothers also experience frustration, worry, disappointment and guilt. Postpartum “baby blues” are common and typically start days after birth and last up to two weeks. Symptoms include mood swings, anxiety, tearfulness, and trouble sleeping. Sometimes...

Pharmacogenetic testing for guiding prescription of biologic medications? Myths vs reality

The escalating cost of biologic medications has private and public plan sponsors concerned. Many are turning to new technologies to stratify patient populations with the aim of reducing the total cost of biologics. Some providers are considering pharmacogenetic tests to guide selection of drug therapy. Others are looking at...