COVID-19 Complications: Optimizing medications for recovery using pharmacogenetics (PGx)

Over 10% of people infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus experience acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and require supportive treatment with oxygen and even mechanical lung ventilation. Multiple COVID-19 complications occur because SARS family coronaviruses can cause extensive heart and lung damage. SARS-CoV-2 viruses can easily penetrate deep into these...

Do antidepressant medications increase the risk of dementia in older adults?

What if you or one of your parents experience depression later in life, and the doctor prescribes an antidepressant? It’s important to understand the health risks and take careful steps to minimize them, especially if other medications are being taken as well. As we get older, medication management becomes...

Mutations in colorectal epithelium drive ulcerative colitis progression

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a complex chronic disease of the gastrointestinal tract. Multiple factors are known to influence predisposition to UC, including genetics, gut microbiota composition, and diet. A recent genetic analysis of gut epithelial cells in UC patients revealed unique patterns of mutation that drive disease progression. Mutations...

Precision Medicine and new Multiple Sclerosis treatment siponimod (Mayzent)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive autoimmune disease affecting the brain and spinal cord, leading to weakness of limb muscles, tremors, poor coordination and electric shock sensation from certain movements. MS also causes chronic fatigue and can affect vision, memory and speech. The causes of MS are still unknown,...

Why don’t painkillers work for everyone? A guide to pharmacogenetics-based chronic pain treatment

Chronic pain is notoriously hard to treat. Affected individuals endure pain for months or years, trying desperately to find a remedy to take the pain away. Unfortunately, less than 30% of patients respond, even with the best treatment. It may take several months to reduce the pain to tolerable...

How does managing your blood pressure reduce your risk of dementia?

Hypertension is a risk factor for developing dementia later in life.  Effective blood pressure control and prevention of age-related hyper and hypotension, or high and low blood pressure, is vital for reducing dementia risk.  Several medications might be needed to reduce your risk of heart disease and vascular dementia,...

Considering stopping Zoloft or Zyprexa due to side effects? PGx testing can help you continue treatment and reduce the risk of relapse

Key points to remember: If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with psychotic depression, treatment may involve both antidepressant and antipsychotic medications. Continuing treatment with Zoloft (sertraline) and Zyprexa (olanzapine) even after a patient is considered stable can be effective in preventing relapses Doctors can use pharmacogenetic...

Antidepressants not working: four alternative medications your doctor should consider

The treatment and diagnosis of mental health conditions is posing challenges for family physicians. Patients with symptoms of anxiety and depression frequently do not respond to antidepressants leading to multiple trials with different drugs. Only when a patient has failed several drug trials s/he is referred to psychiatrist for...

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

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is   treated with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Normally, people are first prescribed the SSRIs citalopram, escitalopram and sertraline. Trials show that only 50% to 60% of people respond to these medications, remission rates between 25% and 35% are achieved, and a large proportion...

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