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3.2 Assignment/Discussion: Project-Laboratory Tests PowerPoint


Introduction and Alignment

Laboratory tests should be ordered or reviewed for every mental health patient.  Many of the patients that come to you will have seen their primary care doctors within the past year.  It is acceptable for you to have the patient sign a release of information (ROI) so that you can request their previous labs for a baseline and to include them on the chart in our office. There may be times that you feel that the labs need to be repeated due to previous abnormal values, amount of time since testing or presenting symptoms.  Labs are commonly ordered and depending on the patient’s insurance carrier can be expensive. If labs are not drawn in your office, they may also be inconvenient for the patient. And often times, patients will complain about the discomfort associated with the initial stick for venous access. It is important for the PMHNP to know the most common labs that are indicated for review and chart inclusion for mental health patients according to diagnosis and medications being prescribed.  All mental health patients should have a CBC, CMP, Lipid panel, TSH, Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 at a minimum.  For certain disorders and medications (anticonvulsants and atypical antipsychotics) you may need to consider additional lab tests.  What additional labs do you need to consider? You should include these additional labs in your PowerPoint™. Depending upon presentation, history and office practice, you may also need to order UDS on each patient initially and at established intervals.  Include specifics that you are looking for with the UDS. How often should labs be ordered?

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Genetic testing is now being used to identify what medications may be more acceptable or contraindicated for patients based upon their genetic map.  There are multiple tests and labs that have been developed and marketed to providers to potentially aid in medication management choices.  There are some limitations with the testing. The most important being that they predict metabolism and bioavailability of medications but they do not predict a patient’s clinical response (improvement in mental health) to a particular medication.  Genetic testing is most commonly performed using buccal swabs. The provider will swab the patient’s oral cavity and then send the specimen to the lab for processing via UPS or FedEx.


Background Information

In this workshop, you will discuss each test listed above and laboratory values that may indicate that the patient is suffering from a metabolic issue versus a mental health issue.  Some metabolic imbalances can mimic or produce mental health symptoms.

In this workshop, you will examine the tests mentioned and their pertinence in mental health care assessment and management.

The best PowerPoint presentations use standardized positions and style. They provide only necessary information and when combined with graphics are entertaining as well as informative.  The PowerPoint will have colors that contrast and complement each other.  Also, do not try to include all of the information on the PowerPoint slide itself.  Information can be entered into the notes section to be used during the presentation.  You want your audience to have fun and be engaged.


  1. Develop a PowerPoint™ presentation to discuss each of the above highlighted labs and how pertinent findings may impact your mental health diagnosis and treatment plan.  Briefly explain the disorder you are ruling out or in with the testing results and state the rationale for the testing needed in the scenario. Be as specific as possible providing a basic overview of the tests that you are assessing as well as the benefits, risks, and limitations. Use on slide for each bolded test – use the notes section on PPT to relay added information regarding each test.
  2. Provide citations for information on each slide.
  3. When you have completed your assignment, save a copy for yourself and submit a copy to your instructor using the 3.2 Assignment by day Five of the workshop.
  4. Submit a copy in the Laboratory testing discussion thread for your peers to read on day Six. 
  5. Review the rubric to make sure you understand the criteria for earning your grade.
    NOTE:  This information should be useful to refer back to your clinical settings, so students are recommended to download the PowerPoints or print the handouts of other student’s presentations for future reference.



Psychother Psychosom 2016;85:129–135
DOI: 10.1159/000443512

The Limitations of Genetic Testing in

Steven L. Dubovsky

Department of Psychiatry, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, N.Y. , and Departments of Psychiatry and
Medicine, University of Colorado, Denver, Colo. , USA

tocols for them [4] . In moderately differentiated breast
cancers, which comprise 50% of breast tumors, gene ex-
pression signatures for mitotic index, angiogenic poten-
tial, p53 mutational status, and estrogen and progester-
one dependence provide better stratification of prognosis
than histology [6] . However, despite such advances, there
is still not much clear integration between genomics and
clinical practice in oncology [7] .

Psychiatric Diagnosis

Numerous markers have been associated with psychi-
atric disorders, including genes for BDNF (brain-derived
neurotrophic factor), FOS (FBJ murine osteosarcoma vi-
ral oncogene homolog), COMT, DRD1, DRD2, DISC1,
GABABR1 (γ-aminobutyric acid B receptor 1), NR4A2
(nuclear receptor subfamily 4, group A, member 2),
ADORA2A (adenosine A2a receptor), CACNA1C (cal-
cium channel gene), sirtuin 1, LHPP, 5HTR1A, RNA-
binding proteins, and genes for myelination, glutaminer-
gic and GABAergic neurotransmission, oxidative stress,
signal transduction, response to the environment, cell
survival and proliferation, and cell shrinkage and apop-
tosis, among others [8–13] . Yet no genetic marker has yet
been shown to be useful in prospectively identifying any
specific psychiatric disorder [14] . Because genetic predis-

Despite the burgeoning number of psychiatric treat-
ments, we still do not know how to predict which one will
work best for which patient. The hope that genetic (single
gene effects) and genomic (multiple gene effects) testing
might be useful for diagnosis and treatment has been en-
couraged by decreased costs of genome sequencing and
studies demonstrating an association between mutations
in more than 3,000 genes and specific disease phenotypes
[1–3] . Are the data as promising in psychiatry as they are
in other fields?

Cancer Genomics

Genetic testing has been most promising in oncology.
For example, about 10% of cases of breast cancer have an
autosomal dominant pattern of transmission, most com-
monly mutations in the tumor suppressor genes BRCA1
and BRCA2 [4] . When BRCA1/2 mutations are found,
healthy women are offered a very close follow-up, as well
as prophylactic antiestrogen therapy or surgery, yet in
one study only 9.5% of high-risk women even underwent
genetic counseling, let alone testing [5] . Breast cancer risk
alleles have also been found for p53, PTEN (phosphate
and tensin homolog deleted from chromosome 10),
STK11, CDH1 and PALB2; however, these genetic factors
are rare, and there is not much research on screening pro-

Received: December 15, 2015
Accepted after revision: December 20, 2015
Published online: April 5, 2016

Steven L. Dubovsky, MD
Department of Psychiatry, University at Buffalo
462 Grider Street, Room 1182
Buffalo, NY 14215 (USA)
E-Mail dubovsky   @

© 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel


Psychother Psychosom 2016;85:129–135
DOI: 10.1159/000443512


position in psychiatry is thinly distributed over thou-
sands of loci, each contributing a small effect, with con-
siderable overlap of brain systems and shared genetic fac-
tors [14] , sample size in most association studies has
generally been too small to produce meaningful, replica-
ble results [1, 15, 16] . In addition, epigenetic and oth-
er factors that alter DNA conformation can determine
whether susceptibility genes are expressed or suppressed
[10] , complicating analyses of the relationship between
genotype and phenotype. Even relevant genetic markers
can be difficult to interpret because inherited gene factors
appear to interact with each other and the environment
to contribute to both illness susceptibility and clinical
presentation [17, 18] .

Descriptive diagnoses in psychiatry have multiple do-
mains such as age of onset, constellations of specific
symptoms, functioning, comorbidity, and evolution over
time that assort differently in different patients in the
same category to produce functionally different condi-
tions [19] . Genetic profiles associated with any one of
these features are not likely to predict more global diag-
noses. If the direct path from genotype to phenotype ends
at discrete endophenotypes such as arousal, anhedonia,
information processing, stress responses, inflammation
and mood, rather than global diagnosis, attempts to link
the latter to specific genes are likely to prove frustrating
[20–23] , just as descriptive diagnoses in psychiatry do not
adequately consider important subtypes that exhibit dif-
ferent assortments of features such as age of onset, sever-
ity, progression or functioning.

Genetic Pharmacokinetic Studies

Since cytochrome P450 (CYP450) 1A2, 2D6, 2C9,
2C19, and 3A4 account for 60% of psychiatric drug me-
tabolism [24] , considerable interest has centered on using
the CYP450 genotype to predict response to psychotropic
medications [3] . However, genotype does not inevitably
predict phenotype because multiple copies of a more or
less active gene can result in more or less metabolic activ-
ity than would be expected from the allele that is identi-
fied. In addition, the metabolizer phenotype associated
with a particular genotype can be inhibited or enhanced
by a number of medications, substances, and foods [25–
30] . In an open study of 900 patients treated with venla-
faxine who were both genotyped and phenotyped for
CYP2D6, 4% were genotypically poor metabolizers, while
27% were phenotypically poor metabolizers, suggesting
that 23% of patients with other genotypes had converted

to a poor metabolizer phenotype as a result of concomi-
tant medications [31] .

Even if genotype inevitably predicted phenotype, the
correlation is stronger between CYP450 phenotype and
drug level than clinical response [32] , which is modified
by metabolism of most medications by more than one
enzyme, lack of linear kinetics and saturable elimination
for many drugs, unclear correlations between blood level
and response for many medications, and therapeutic win-
dows requiring therapeutic monitoring anyway for some
of them [24, 26, 33, 34] . Expression of CYP450 enzymes
in the brain, which influences drug effect, may be differ-
ent from their expression in the blood, or even in the in-
testine and liver [24] .

Drug Transporter Studies

Drug transporters, including P-glycoprotein (P-gp), or-
ganic ion transporters, and multidrug and toxin extrusion
proteins, modify the effect of CYP450 phenotype on drug
levels and drug action because they influence gastrointesti-
nal absorption, tissue uptake, and renal elimination as well
as transport in and out of the brain [35, 36] . In the iSPOT-
D (International Study to Predict Optimized Treatment in
Depression), two different MDR1 single nucleotide poly-
morphisms (SNPs) of the gene for P-gp (MDR1 or ABCB1)
were associated with better responses either to escitalo-
pram and sertraline or to venlafaxine, but there was no a
priori hypothesis, other relevant factors such as drug me-
tabolism, ethnicity, age, specific symptoms, or concomitant
illness were not addressed [36] , and DNA was collected af-
ter results were known rather than prospectively [37] .

Pharmacodynamic Studies

Both a deletion (short polymorphism or s-allele) and
an insertion (long polymorphism or l-allele) have been
found in the gene (SCL6A4) for the promoter region
(5-HTTLPR) of the gene for the serotonin transporter
(SERT) [32] . The short polymorphism (s) decreases and
the long polymorphism (l) increases SLC6A4 transcrip-
tion rates, resulting in less or more SERT expression, re-
spectively [32] . Research on the association of the s/s ge-
notype with a lower response rate to serotonin reuptake
inhibitors in some ethnic groups has been contradictory
[38–40] , and even without correction for multiple statisti-
cal tests, the SCL6A4 genotype explains at most 5% of the
variance in antidepressant response [30] . Attempts have

Genetics in Psychiatry Psychother Psychosom 2016;85:129–135
DOI: 10.1159/000443512


been made to correlate SNPs of the brain-specific voltage-
gated rectifier potassium channel (Kv11.1–3.1) and the
cardiac specific version (Kv11.1–1A) with risperidone
treatment response and changes in cardiac conduction,
respectively, in schizophrenia [41] , but the results have
not been robust.

Gene Network Studies

Because treatment outcome seems to be influenced by
multiple genetic polymorphisms, each with a small effect
[3, 21] , research has moved toward analysis of networks
of genes in the hope of developing more clinically useful
information [42–44] . However, such studies have not
produced clinically meaningful results [43, 44] . The Ge-
nome-Based Therapeutic Drugs for Depression (GEN-
DEP; n = 811) study, a substudy of the Sequenced Treat-
ment Alternatives to Relive Depression (STAR * D; n =
1,491) study, and the Munich Antidepressant Response
Study (n = 339), did not find any combination of genetic
markers that influenced treatment response in depres-
sion [1, 44] . Genome-wide association studies did not re-
veal any SNPs associated with response or remission of
nonbipolar, nonpsychotic, major depressive disorder
treated openly with serotonin reuptake inhibitors [45] ,
and the STAR * D study did not reveal any positive ge-
nome-wide association or top 25 SNP associations with
treatment response [45] . A genome-wide association
study from the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Interven-
tion Effectiveness (CATIE, n = 738) did not find any com-
binations of genetic markers that influenced treatment
response in schizophrenia [1, 44] .

Prospective Treatment Studies

Only a small number of reports have involved the pro-
spective use of genotyping to make treatment decisions.
An open study of 58 depressed inpatients reported that
genotyping for ABCB1 was associated with a shorter hos-
pital stay because patients with the TT/GG genotype were
more likely to have an increase in the dose of an antide-
pressant that was a P-gp substrate, although changing to
a non-P-gp substrate did not affect outcome [46] . The
study was not randomized, and numerous intervening
variables, including pharmacokinetics, comorbidity, and
history, were not considered.

Four studies have been supported by the manufactur-
er of a proprietary survey (GeneSight) of CYP2D6, 2C19,

2C9, and 1A2, SLC6A4, and 5HTR2A genotypes that gen-
erates a ‘composite report’ classifying antidepressants
and antipsychotic drugs used in the treatment of depres-
sion into three categories: ‘use as directed’, ‘use with cau-
tion’, and ‘use with caution and with more frequent mon-
itoring’. An 8-week open study of 44 patients assigned in
a nonrandom manner to treatment guided by the com-
posite report (guided treatment) or nonguided treatment
by the same clinicians, who were involved with the prod-
uct, reported that patients in the guided group were less
likely to receive medications in the ‘use with caution and
with more frequent monitoring’ category, presumably
because of reluctance by the guided clinicians to prescribe
medications that required more monitoring [47] . Al-
though improvement of depression was similar for the
first 4 weeks in both groups, a single measure at 8 weeks
indicated increased depression scores for the nonguided
but not the guided group. No explanation was offered for
the final increase in depression scores in the nonguided
group, when multiple earlier ratings demonstrated a
steady decrease in scores. Improvement in the guided
group was not impressive, and it is impossible to know
whether comorbid factors, concomitant medications,
treatment adherence, patient enthusiasm, substance use,
adjunctive psychotherapy, clinician knowledge of treat-
ment condition, and open ratings affected the conduct of
treatment or the outcome assessment.

A second open, nonrandomized study conducted by
the same group in 227 mildly-moderately depressed pa-
tients, 165 of whom completed 8 weeks of treatment, re-
ported that patients in the guided group were twice as
likely to respond [48] . Since clinicians reported substan-
tial levels of confidence in the genetic reports, it is possi-
ble that they worked more vigorously with patients in the
guided group, that patients in the guided group were
more adherent with a treatment approach they thought
would be more effective, or that they reported better re-
sults to please the investigators.

In a double-blind, randomized, controlled trial of
GeneSight, 25 depressed patients were assigned to treat-
ment as usual and 26 to guided treatment [49] . Improve-
ment was numerically greater in patients in the guided
than in the treatment-as-usual group, but none of the
group differences were statistically significant. In a fourth
report from the same company [50] , 97 patients with a
depressive or anxiety disorder treated openly by a single
psychiatrist with one of the medications in the genetic sur-
vey were followed openly for 1 year. The 9 patients taking
at least one medication in the ‘use with caution’ category
had significantly more total health care visits and nonpsy-


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DOI: 10.1159/000443512


chiatric medical visits than the other subjects and had a
higher average cost of care. However, these patients also
took more medications than the other subjects, and there
was a significant correlation between the number of med-
ications taken and the two outcome variables. When dif-
ferent statistical analyses were performed on the same
data (e.g. analysis of variance and t tests), some were sig-
nificant and some were not, and no correction was made
for multiple statistical tests. Although the authors con-
tended that their genetic analysis could save health care
costs, this hypothesis was not actually tested. Since no data
were available on medical comorbidity and severity of
psychiatric illness, the possibility was not considered that
the small number of patients in the ‘use with caution’ cat-
egory had more health care visits and took more medi-
cations because they were sicker psychiatrically or medi-

Gene Expression

Current genotyping approaches in psychiatry consider
the presence or absence of a particular allele or group of
alleles, but expression of those genes may be suppressed,
modified, or enhanced by a number of factors, including
circadian transcription patterns, epistasis (gene interac-
tions), regulatory regions, epigenetic factors, and noncod-
ing RNA [14] . Histone modification and DNA methyla-
tion in response to experience, inflammation, the illness,
and the medications used to treat it can induce or suppress
multiple genes, and genotype itself can affect methylation
of regulatory sites that leads to epigenetic changes in brain
development [51] . Micro-RNAs and short interfering
RNAs are short, noncoding posttranslational regulators of
gene expression that target hundreds of mRNA transcripts
to influence gene networks [27, 52, 53] . The expression of
genes for CYP450 enzymes is altered by promoter meth-
ylation, micro-RNAs associated with inflammation and
other illnesses [27] , and some medications [54] , resulting
in an altered CYP450 phenotype.

Limitations of Pharmacogenetic Testing in


No matter how much we may want to translate direct-
ly to clinical diagnosis reports of an association between
a diagnosis and a genetic marker, the nature of the current
level of knowledge does not permit this application. Sam-
ple sizes in most existing studies have been too small to

produce meaningful, replicable results because of the
clinical and genetic heterogeneity of psychiatric disorders
[55] , and the combined influence of multiple genes, each
with a small effect size [1, 15, 16] . Most studies have uti-
lized retrospective or post hoc analyses rather than pro-
spective a priori hypotheses [56] , and statistical signifi-
cance is often inflated by lack of correction for multiple
statistical tests [16] . The majority of studies lack replica-
tion in independent samples, especially by different in-
vestigators [16] . Even robust findings would not be clini-
cally applicable until a prospective study demonstrated
their ability to preferentially predict one diagnosis or even
clinically relevant feature over another.

Using genotype to predict response to medications is
even more problematic. Pharmacogenetic studies have
been conducted in normal subjects or patients who are
not taking other medications and who do not have other
illnesses, limiting extrapolation to most clinical settings
[33, 34] . Most studies do not control for the effect on the
expression of CYP450 and other genes of age [27] , ethnic-
ity [30] , smoking [30, 34] , and use of substances such as
alcohol, hormones, St. John’s wort, caffeine, cabbage, and
grapefruit juice [30] . Genetic studies of treatment out-
come have not measured nonadherence [57] , but as the
rate of nonadherence increases in any population, statis-
tical power to detect a genotype effect decreases substan-
tially [1] . For medications that are chiral mixtures of en-
antiomers with different actions, the metabolism of each
enantiomer may be by different enzymes [58] . Active me-
tabolites with their own metabolic pathways may en-
hance or interfere with therapeutic or toxic effects pre-
dicted by the presumed metabolism of the parent drug
[59, 60] . In most instances, more than one genetic factor
affects drug levels and disposition [3] , and interactions
between these factors can be difficult to predict.

A clear demonstration of a genotype/blood level rela-
tionship in a single dose or 8-week study may not corre-
late with chronic treatment, in which compensatory
changes in secondary metabolic pathways and drug trans-
porters, gene up- or downregulation, saturation pharma-
cokinetics and other factors may modify the impact of
oxidative enzyme polymorphisms on final drug level [24,
59] . With chronic treatment, some psychotropic drug
metabolites form complexes with P450 enzymes that alter
or even reverse the acute effect on metabolism [25] . Long-
term changes in P450 enzymes also occur in the brain,
with further unpredictable effects, not only on the sub-
strate drug, but on neurotransmitters and neurosteroids
metabolized by the same enzymes on which the medica-
tion may act [25] . Another complicating factor is that the

Genetics in Psychiatry Psychother Psychosom 2016;85:129–135
DOI: 10.1159/000443512


illness, as well as medications used to treat it, can alter the
relationship between pharmacologic genotype and phe-
notype. For example, many proinflammatory cytokines
and acute-phase proteins that are associated with mood
and anxiety disorders [61] act on transcription or post-
translational protein modification to downregulate some
CYP450 genes and upregulate others [62] . At the same
time, suppression of cytokines by antidepressants can al-
ter gene expression in directions that antagonize im-
provement of depression [25] . The impact of evolution of
the illness and its response to different treatments in
modifying therapeutic strategies during the course of
treatment of cancer is relatively straightforward to study
by virtue of methodologies for examining genotype and
phenotype of cellular clones, but it is still difficult to de-
velop the correct approach to well-characterized tumors
[63] . The absence of such measures in psychiatric diagno-
ses makes this prospect considerably more difficult.

Where Do We Go from Here?

Psychiatrists, whose work frequently involves ambigu-
ous clinical problems, and who must often consider con-
tradictory elements of patient presentations and avoid
premature closure, can have a remarkably low tolerance
for ambiguity, conflict, and delayed gratification when it
comes to the latest laboratory study. The hope that phar-
macogenetic testing will result in unambiguous ‘person-
alized psychiatry’ should not lead to quick adoption of

technologies that have not yet been demonstrated to reli-
ably predict a specific course or a need for a specific med-
ication, the choice of which remains largely empirical. Af-
ter all, genetic associations are statistical, but medical
practice is personal [14] . Yet there is tremendous pressure
to translate each new report of such associations to our
patients, not only from our own need to appear ‘scien-
tific’ and from industry marketing of proprietary tests,
but from the marketing of ideas by thought leaders with
an intellectual attachment to the latest conceptualization
of genetic causality [64] .

It is a continuing challenge to examine new genetic
findings critically without applying them immediately in
the clinic. When adequately powered studies that address
gene number and expression and that control for real-life
factors that affect outcome such as comorbidity, poly-
pharmacy, environmental exposure, age, gender, ethnic-
ity, substance use, and treatment adherence emerge [44] ,
clinicians who have not put new information into action
before integrating it with emerging knowledge about di-
agnosis, neurobiology, and the evolution of complex dis-
orders will be ready to apply them effectively.

Disclosure Statement

Dr. Dubovsky has received research support from Janssen, Ot-
suka, Sumitomo, Neurocrine, Tower Foundation, Wendt Founda-
tion, Oshei Foundation and Patrick Lee Foundation. The author
has no other conflicts of interest to disclose.


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linical pharmacogenomics consists of the appli-
cation of research that links measurable genetic variants
with the prediction of drug response.1 Every medical
specialty can utilize the results of pharmacogenomic
probe studies to inform the adoption of individualized
pharmacotherapy. However, psychiatric pharmacother-
apy is particularly likely to benefit from the introduction
of pharmacogenomic testing, because there are many
psychotropic agents available for selection that target
specific symptoms.
The terms pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics
are currently used interchangeably. However, with the
growing understanding that multiple intragenic varia-
tions should be considered in making predictions related
to medication response, the use of the term pharma-
cogenomics has become more frequently chosen to des-
ignate the process of using documented genetic variation
to guide medication selection and dosing.
Historically, psychiatrists have used empirical strategies
to select medications. In the best practices, the choice of
medications has evolved based on a rational trial-and-
error process that has used clinical indicators to select
medications and then relied on documenting treatment
responses to titrate the optimal dose for a particular
patient. Psychiatrists learn to “start low and go slow” in
order to minimize side effects. They also know that it is

6 9

P h a r m a c o l o g i c a l a s p e c t s


Copyright © 2010 LLS SAS. All rights reserved

Psychiatric pharmacogenomic testing in
clinical practice
David A. Mrazek, MD, FRCPsych

Keywords: pharmacogenomic testing; cytochrome P450 gene; serotonin trans-
porter gene (SLC6A4); serotonin receptor 2A gene (HTR2A); serotonin receptor 2C
gene (HTR2C); poor metabolizer phenotype; ultrarapid metabolizer phenotype

Author affiliations: Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Mayo
Clinic; Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Mayo Clinic College of
Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota, USA

Address for correspondence: David A. Mrazek, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine,
200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA

The clinical adoption of psychiatric pharmacogenomic
testing has taken place rapidly over the past 7 years.
Initially, drug-metabolizing enzyme genes, such as the
cytochrome P450 2D6 gene (CYP2D6), were identified.
Genotyping the highly variable cytochrome P450 2D6
gene now provides clinicians with the opportunity to iden-
tify both poor metabolizers and ultrarapid metabolizers
of 2D6 substrate medications. Subsequently, genes influ-
encing the pharmacodynamic response of medications
have been made available for clinical practice. Among the
earliest “target genes” was the serotonin transporter
gene (SLC6A4) which has variants that have been shown
to influence the clinical response of patients of European
ancestry when they are treated with selective serotonin
reuptake inhibitors. Genotyping of some of the serotonin
receptor genes is also available to guide clinical practice.
The quantification of the clinical utility of pharmacoge-
nomic testing is evolving, and ethical considerations for
testing have been established. Given the increasingly clear
cost-effectiveness of genotyping, it has recently been pre-
dicted that pharmacogenomic testing will routinely be
ordered to guide the selection and dosing of psychotropic
© 2010, LLS SAS Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2010;12:69-76.

DCNS_44_5.qxd:DCNS#44 10/03/10 1:44 Page 69

necessary to provide their patients with an “adequate”
trial of each medication. Unfortunately, these strategies
can result in a 3- to 4-week interval during which the
patient continues to experience symptoms. In recent
years, the potential iatrogenic harm associated with psy-
chotropic medications has become increasingly obvious,
with “black-box warnings” being attached to antide-
pressants, antipsychotic medications, stimulants, and
mood stabilizers.
Despite a growing awareness of this potential harm,
there are powerful pressures to try to accelerate the
achievement of therapeutic benefit. At the most basic
level, patients are impatient. They do not want to wait a
month to achieve symptom relief. Additionally, with an
increasing focus on the relief of specific symptoms,
strategies using multiple psychotropic medications have
become a standard of practice. Research supports the
common practice of augmenting an initial medication
with a second psychotropic drug.2 However, there is no
scientifically available evidence to support the practice
of using four or five psychotropic medications simulta-
neously. Nevertheless, patients routinely receive multi-
ple psychotropic medications in an attempt to identify
the “right combination.” While some patients do achieve
a good therapeutic response using this trial-and-error
approach to individualized medicine, it is also true that
others become overmedicated or suffer from iatrogenic
side effects.
Pharmacogenomic testing provides an innovative strat-
egy to improve the likelihood of selecting an effective
psychotropic medication. The earliest medical texts rec-
ognize that individual patients experience quite dra-
matically different responses to the same drug. There is
also a longstanding observation that unusual drug
responses can occur in members of the same family. The
identification of specific gene variants associated with
idiosyncratic responses is about 50 years old,3 and the
recognition that some psychiatric patients metabolize
antidepressants at dramatically different rates has been
documented for several decades.4 However, with the use
of newer antidepressant medications that rarely have
life-threatening complications, the relatively expensive
practice of monitoring the serum levels of newer anti-
depressant medications has become uncommon in the
United States. This change has occurred despite the fact
that serum levels of these newer agents also have dra-
matic variations based on the metabolic capacity of each

A decade ago, the cost of genotyping began to become
more affordable, and individual laboratories initiated
pharmacogenomic testing that would provide genotyping
of individual cytochrome P450 genes. However, there was
no standard or well-validated methodology for the geno-
typing of these informative genes. There was also consid-
erable variability in the interpretation of the results. In
2004, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
approved the use of a new product, the AmpliChip.5 The
introduction of the AmpliChip provided reference labo-
ratories with a standard method for identifying variations
in two of the cytochrome P450 genes: cytochrome P450
2D6 (CYP2D6) and cytochrome P450 2C19 (CYP2C19).
The approval of the AmpliChip was an important land-
mark in the history of psychiatric pharmacogenomic test-
ing, and within 3 years, CYP2D6 and CYP2C19 were
being genotyped by every reference laboratory in the
country. However, this advance also highlighted some of
the challenges associated with the introduction of clinical
testing. One of the most obvious challenges that must be
addressed is how to begin to assess new variants of these
two genes in updated versions of the assay. Ideally, the
methodology for establishing drug-metabolizing pheno-
types should be updated regularly based on new molecu-
lar genetic findings showing how new genotypic variants
influence gene function. Also, the clarification of the pre-
dictive capacity of previously identified gene variants
influencing gene function is similarly evolving, and newly
identified associations between gene structure and func-
tion should ideally be incorporated into algorithms that
define the metabolic capacity of psychiatric patients.
The evolution of pharmacogenomic research should
inform modifications in pharmacogenomic testing.
However, an implication of the rapid increase in our
knowledge base is that these new studies demonstrate
limitations in the accuracy of older genotyping method-
ologies that were designed prior to the discovery of
more recent variants. What is often not well appreciated
is that even older pharmacogenomic methods provided
important information for many patients, as these early
innovations were a major advance over psychopharma-
cological practice without pharmacogenomic insights.
However, as newer methodologies have further
improved the accuracy of the prediction of medication
response, the clinical utility of pharmacogenomic testing
continues to increase.
Pharmacogenomic testing in psychiatric practice initially
focused on identifying pharmacokinetic variability that

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would influence the responses of patients who had atyp-
ical genotypes. Pharmacokinetic variation influences
the concentration of a drug at its sites of action.
Pharmacogenomic testing of drug-metabolizing enzyme
genes provides a prediction of how an individual patient
will metabolize a specific psychotropic medication. More
recently, the focus of pharmacogenomic testing has
expanded to include determining variability in the phar-
macodynamic response of a patient to a specific med-
ication. This variability reflects the capacity of the indi-
vidual patient to respond to adequate exposure to the
drug. Prediction of response is estimated based on the
documentation of variations in “target genes” that code
for receptors and transporters that influence the
response of the patient to a particular medication.
This review will first identify the most widely genotyped
drug-metabolizing enzyme genes that influence the
pharmacokinetic metabolic capacity of a patient. Then,
it will focus on genes that influence the pharmacody-
namic responses of individual patients, before conclud-
ing with a brief discussion of the clinical utility of phar-
macogenomic testing and some of the ethical
considerations related to its routine use.

Pharmacogenomic testing to establish the
metabolic capacity of psychiatric patients

Many genes code for enzymes that influence drug
response. However, only the clinical implications of geno-
typing four of the most commonly tested cytochrome
P450 genes will be reviewed. The focus of this discussion
will be the clinical benefit for the patient of identifying
individualized molecular variations, and the implications
for those patients who have a quite significant decrement
in their capacity to metabolize specific psychotropic med-
ications. Identifying these individual patients provides
clinicians with a clear method of minimizing side effects.
This determination of decreased metabolic capacity is the
most obvious benefit of pharmacogenomic testing, but
implications of the pharmacogenomic testing for patients
with increased metabolic capacity will also be discussed,
as these patients are less likely to respond to specific psy-
chotropic medications.

The cytochrome P450 2D6 gene (CYP2D6)

CYP2D6 was the first drug-metabolizing enzyme gene
that was genotyped to identify psychiatric patients with

increased or decreased metabolic capacity. It is located
on chromosome 22 and consists of 4382 nucleotides.
CYP2D6 codes for an enzyme that is composed of 497
amino acids.
The CYP2D6 enzyme plays a primary role in the metab-
olism of more than 70 substrate medications, including
twelve psychotropic medications. CYP2D6 is one of the
most highly variable drug-metabolizing enzyme genes.
However, many of the other 29 P450 drug-metabolizing
enzyme genes are also highly variable. The specific
genetic variations that define variable phenotypes can
be located on a Web site maintained by the Karolinska
Institute ( Each newly iden-
tified variant is included on the Web site after confir-
mation that it is unique.
There are currently 75 distinct CYP2D6 alleles posted
on this site, as well as an additional 55 CYP2D6 variants
that closely resemble one of the primary variants.
Traditionally, these variants have been classified as being
normal, deficient, or inactive drug-metabolizing alleles.
Additionally, some alleles have more recently been
demonstrated to code for an increased amount of
enzyme which enhances the metabolic activity of the
patient. Furthermore, patients can have a variable num-
ber of copies of CYP2D6. The most common number of
copies of CYP2D6 that patients carry is two. However,
some patients have only one copy and, rarely, none at all.
It is also possible to have more than two copies, and one
patient has been reported to have 13 copies.4 The devel-
opment of several different classification systems to cat-
egorize 2D6 substrate metabolic capacity of patients into
four phenotypic categories has been problematic. The
use of alternative methodologies by different research
teams has made it more difficult to study the implica-
tions of this variability.
The most important CYP2D6 phenotype to identify is
the poor 2D6 substrate metabolizer phenotype. Patients
who are poor metabolizers are at increased risk for
adverse events when they are prescribed 2D6 substrate
medications, because of their low metabolic capacity.
Patients are now classified as poor metabolizers if they
have two inactive alleles, or one inactive allele and one
deficient allele.
The second most clinically important CYP2D6 pheno-
type is the ultrarapid metabolizer phenotype. Patients
are ultrarapid metabolizers if they have either three or
more active copies of CYP2D6 or two or more enhanced
copies of CYP2D6. They are unlikely to respond to 2D6

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DCNS_44_5.qxd:DCNS#44 10/03/10 1:44 Page 71

substrate medications at standard doses because their
ability to rapidly metabolize these medications makes it
difficult to sustain therapeutic serum levels.
The third clinically important CYP2D6 phenotype is the
intermediate metabolizer phenotype. These patients
have one normal copy of CYP2D6, and one copy that is
either deficient or inactive. While these patients can nor-
mally benefit from 2D6 substrate medications at low-to-
moderate doses, they are at increased risk for the devel-
opment of side effects at higher doses because of their
decreased metabolic capacity, and they are more at risk
for enzyme inhibition as a consequence of drug-drug
interactions. When intermediate metabolizers are
exposed to powerful 2D6 inhibitors such as paroxetine
or fluoxetine, their metabolic capacity can be further
decreased to the level of a poor metabolizer.6

There are many psychotropic medications metabolized
by the 2D6 enzyme. Specifically, this enzyme:
• primarily metabolizes five antidepressants: fluoxetine,

paroxetine, venlafaxine, desipramine, and nortriptyline
• substantially metabolizes amitriptyline, imipramine,

doxepin, duloxetine, trazodone, and mirtazapine
• primarily metabolizes risperidone and four of the typ-

ical antipsychotic medications: chlorpromazine, thior-
idazine, perphenazine, and haloperidol

• has substantial involvement in the metabolism of arip-
iprazole and olanzapine

• primarily metabolizes atomoxetine and dextroam-

Beyond the prescription of psychotropic medications,
psychiatric patients are given many other 2D6 substrate
medications. Specifically, dextromethorphan is a cough
suppressant that is metabolized by the 2D6 enzyme.
Patients who are poor metabolizers of 2D6 substrate
medications are at increased risk for cognitive side effects
if taking standard doses of preparations that contain dex-
tromethorphan. Another example is codeine, which is a
prodrug. A prodrug must be converted to an active
metabolite in order to have a therapeutic effect. Patients
who are poor 2D6 metabolizers do not receive analgesic
benefit from codeine because they do not metabolize
codeine to morphine. Tamoxifen is also a prodrug that is
the most frequently prescribed treatment for breast can-
cer. Poor metabolizers have little or no benefit from
tamoxifen because they are not able to metabolize
tamoxifen to endoxifen.7,8 Additionally, paroxetine, flu-
oxetine, or bupropion should not be given to patients
who are receiving tamoxifen because they inhibit the

2D6 enzyme. Giving these inhibitors to intermediate
metabolizers can convert them to functional poor metab-
olizers. Consequently, they become unable to produce

The cytochrome P450 2C19 gene (CYP2C19)

CYP2C19 was the second drug-metabolizing enzyme
gene that was widely genotyped to identify patients with
increased or decreased metabolic capacity. It is a large
gene located on chromosome 10. It consists of 90 209
nucleotides, but codes for an enzyme that contains only
490 amino acids.
The identification of patients with low 2C19 metabolic
capacity is clinically important because it allows clini-
cians to decrease the risk of iatrogenic side effects.
The 2C19 enzyme:
• primarily metabolizes citalopram, escitalopram,

clomipramine, and amitriptyline
• has substantial involvement in the metabolism of ser-

traline, imipramine, nortriptyline, and doxepin
• plays an important role in the metabolism of clozapine

and a minimal role in the metabolism of thioridazine
• is the primary enzyme involved in the metabolism of

Recently, a new variant of CYP2C19 has been identified
which has enhanced function.10 Patients who are
homozygous for this new allele are less likely to respond
to 2C19 substrate medications at standard doses. The
identification of ultrarapid 2C19 metabolizers can be
helpful in evaluating patients who do not respond to
standard doses of any of these psychotropic medications.

The cytochrome P450 2C9 gene (CYP2C9)

CYP2C9 is located on chromosome 10 in relative close
proximity to CYP2C19. However, it is only about half
the size of CYP2C9 as it consists of 50 708 nucleotides.
Like CYP2C19, CYP2C9 codes for an enzyme that con-
tains 490 amino acids.
CYP2C9 is a drug-metabolizing enzyme gene that is less
routinely genotyped to identify the increased or
decreased metabolic capacity of psychiatric patients for
2C9 substrate medications. It does not play a primary
role in the metabolism of any currently prescribed psy-
chotropic medications. However, the 2C9 enzyme pro-
vides the only secondary pathway for the metabolism of
fluoxetine, so patients who are poor metabolizers of

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7 3

both 2D6 substrates and 2C9 substrates are at very high
risk for adverse effects if treated with standard dose of

The cytochrome P450 1A2 gene (CYP1A2)

CYP1A2 is a less well-studied drug-metabolizing
enzyme gene, but it codes for an enzyme that plays an
important role in the metabolism of fluvoxamine. It is
also involved in the metabolism of duloxetine and olan-
zapine. CYP1A2 is located on chromosome 15 and con-
sists of 7758 nucleotides. CYP1A2 codes for an enzyme
that is composed of 516 amino acids.
A somewhat atypical aspect of the CYP1A2 gene is that
there are alleles of this gene that are inducible by smok-
ing tobacco or consuming cruciferous vegetables, such
as cabbage or Brussels sprouts. Consequently, patients
who smoke tobacco and have two alleles of CYP1A2
that are inducible by their smoking can be difficult to
maintain on 1A2 substrate medications. A relatively
common problem occurs when these patients are treated
with olanzapine or clozapine on an inpatient psychiatric
unit that does not allow them to smoke. When they
begin to smoke after they are discharged, their serum
level drops and their psychotic symptoms often reoccur.
In some populations of European ancestry, as many as
25% of the population can have an inducible ultrarapid
CYP1A2 phenotype.

Pharmacogenomic testing to identify
variability in pharmacodynamic responses

A goal of individualized molecular psychopharmacology
is to identify medications for an individual patient that
will not only be safe, but will be effective. Progress in
making predictions of medication response has occurred,
and while the goal of being able to predict this response
with certainty has not been achieved, we can make
increasingly accurate probabilistic predictions of the
likelihood of response. Psychiatrists are familiar with this
limitation. While hundreds of randomized clinical trials
of psychotropic medications have been conducted to
identify effective psychotropic drugs, the results of these
trials only provide assurance that for a sample of
patients there is reasonable likelihood that the medica-
tion will be of more benefit than a placebo. While selec-
tive serotonin reuptake blockers are among the most
widely prescribed medications in the world, many

patients do not respond. Specifically, the largest clinical
effectiveness study of citalopram reported that less than
30% of the entire sample of patients experienced a com-
plete remission of their symptoms.11 While the ultimate
goal of pharmacodynamically designed pharmacoge-
nomic testing is to identify a drug for a specific patient
that will definitely be effective, at the current stage of
our understanding, it is only possible to identify a med-
ication that is more likely to be effective.

The serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4)

SLC6A4 is located on chromosome 17 and consists of 37
800 nucleotides. It codes for an enzyme that is composed
of 630 amino acids.
SLC6A4 is the most widely genotyped pharmacoge-
nomic “target” gene. A meta-analysis of studies of the
relationship between the more active long form of the
indel promoter variant of this gene and responses to
selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors12 confirmed the
early finding that the long form is associated with a more
rapid and better response.13 However, this has not con-
sistently been demonstrated in patients of Asian ances-
try.14,15 The importance of ancestral heritage has been fur-
ther demonstrated by multiple analyses of the large
STAR*D effective treatment study.
Analyses that did not consider ancestral background did
not demonstrate a significant association,16 while those
that focused on patients who identified themselves as
“white” but not “Hispanic” did confirm the relationship
that patients who were homozygous for the more active
long form of the indel promoter polymorphism were
more likely to respond to citalopram. Other variants,
such as rs2553117 and the second intronic VNTR18 are
likely to influence the activity level of the gene and, con-
sequently, its response to medications that block its abil-
ity to reuptake serotonin in the synapses of the central
nervous system.

The serotonin receptor 2A gene (HTR2A)

HTR2A is located on chromosome 13 and consists of 62
663 nucleotides. Despite its large size, it codes for an
enzyme that is composed of only 471 amino acids.
There have been a series of studies examining the asso-
ciation between variants of HTR2A and antidepressant
response. A large study examining the response of
depressed patients of European ancestry to citalopram

DCNS_44_5.qxd:DCNS#44 10/03/10 1:44 Page 73

found that a positive response to citalopram was associ-
ated with having a copy of the adenine allele of

Another study examining a different HTR2A variant,
rs6313, reported that patients who were homozygous for
the cytosine allele were less likely to tolerate taking
paroxetine than those who had one or more copies of
the thymine allele.20

A series of studies have reported a better response to
clozapine in patients who had the thymine allele of
rs6313. The thymine allele of rs6313 has also been asso-
ciated with a lower risk for the development of
extrapyramidal side effects when taking antipsychotic

The serotonin receptor 2C gene (HTR2C)

HTR2C is a very large gene that is located on the X
chromosome and consists of 326 074 nucleotides.
However, it codes for a protein product that is composed
of only 458 amino acids.
Variations in the HTR2C gene have been associated
with a better clinical response to clozapine. Specifically,
patients with schizophrenia who have a copy of the cyto-
sine allele of rs6318 have achieved better control of their
psychotic symptoms than patients with the guanine
allele.24,25 However, this same variant has been associated
with a higher risk for the development of extrapyrami-
dal side effects in patients who are taking typical antipsy-
chotic medications.26

An increased risk for the development of weight gain
has been linked to a different HTR2C variant.
Specifically, the cytosine allele of rs518147 is associated
with increased weight gain, while the thymine allele is
conceptualized as providing protection against weight

The clinical utility of pharmacogenomic
testing in

psychiatric practice

Assessing the clinical utility of pharmacogenomic test-
ing is an ongoing process, given that the accuracy of
genotyping is continually improving, and new research
is identifying additional genetic variants that influence
medication responses. Reports of adverse responses to
2D6 substrate medications in patients with decreased
2D6 metabolic capacity support the use of testing at this
most basic level. Specifically, poor 2D6 metabolizers

have had quite dramatic side effects to 2D6 substrate
medications3 and some toxic reactions have been
lethal.30,31 However, there have been no large random-
ized clinical trials to demonstrate the clinical utility of
pharmacogenomic testing. Such trials would reinforce
the use of testing. However, it is unlikely that these tri-
als will ever be conducted because, by definition, they
are not designed to concentrate on those patients who
are the most likely to benefit from pharmacogenomic
testing. Trials that screen vulnerable populations and
identify patients at risk for suboptimal responses to med-
ications are a more efficient method to address the clin-
ical usefulness of testing patients with decreased meta-
bolic capacity. These screened patients could then be
enrolled in protocols designed to provide optimal
response for their specific genotypes and predicted phar-
macogenomic phenotypes.

Ethical considerations for pharmacogenomic
testing in psychiatric practice

The provision of pharmacogenomic testing involves rel-
atively few risks, but ethical safeguards are still impor-
tant to consider. These are essentially the same consid-
erations that are important to think through when
ordering any laboratory test that has the potential to
direct a treatment decision.
First, clinical pharmacogenomic testing requires obtain-
ing appropriate consent. This has become a guiding prin-
ciple for all diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.
Clinicians should provide the basic rationale for pro-
ceeding with pharmacogenomic testing so that their
patients have the opportunity to provide explicit
informed consent.
Secondly, as a component of obtaining clinical consent,
it must be clear that clinical testing is a voluntary proce-
dure. This is true for virtually all clinical laboratory test-
ing with the relatively rare exceptions of mandatory test-
ing that can identify a condition with a potential
negative influence on the public health of the commu-
nity. A common example of compulsory testing is the
monitoring of infections in order to prevent contagion.
A third principle is that clinicians must insure the confi-
dentiality of sensitive medical information that becomes
a part of the medical record of the patient. This is true
whether the information is derived from a pathological
specimen that reveals a malignant carcinoma or from
magnetic resonance imaging that demonstrates atrophy

P h a r m a c o l o g i c a l a s p e c t s

7 4

DCNS_44_5.qxd:DCNS#44 10/03/10 1:44 Page 74

of the hippocampus. The security of the medical record
is the responsibility of the clinician.
Finally, any diagnostic medical procedure must have an
acceptable level of reliability. The degree of accuracy of
any clinical laboratory testing is dependent on a number
of key variables. Two of these variables are the serious-
ness of the prognosis for the patient if the test is positive
and the efficacy of available treatments. In designing the
treatment plan for a potentially lethal condition that is
likely to respond well to a relatively benign intervention
if it is administered early in the course of the illness, a
laboratory test with high sensitivity is desirable. The
most important objective in this situation is to identify
as quickly as possible those patients who will benefit
from treatment.

Future developments that will influence
pharmacogenomic testing in

psychiatric practice

In the 2009 presidential lecture of the American
Psychiatric Association, it was predicted that pharma-
cogenomic testing would become a part of everyday psy-

chiatric practice.32 Ironically, in many academic health
centers, pharmacogenomic testing has been utilized since
2004—the time of the introduction of the AmpliChip.
Over the intervening years, early adopters have inte-
grated pharmacogenomic testing into their inpatient
protocols and ultimately into their outpatient practices.
However, this testing has not yet been included in many
clinical guidelines.
Pharmacogenomic testing is an innovation, and it takes
time for innovations to become integrated into standard
practice. While it is difficult to predict with accuracy just
how quickly pharmacogenomic testing will become an
essential component of clinical psychopharmacological
practice, there is no question that this will happen.
Ironically, given advances in our ability to sequence genes
both rapidly and inexpensively, there will come a time in
the near future when most patients will know their 2D6
phenotype in the same way as today they know their
blood type. However, well before we reach a state of uni-
versal awareness of our informative genotypes, our
patients will no longer accept avoidable side effects, and
will demand basic pharmacogenomic testing prior to tak-
ing antidepressant or antipsychotic medications. ❏

Psychiatric pharmacogenomic testing – Mrazek Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience – Vol 12 . No. 1 . 2010

7 5


1. Mrazek DA. Psychiatric Pharmacogenomics. New York, NY: Oxford
University Press; 2010.
2. Thase ME, Friedman ES, Biggs MM, et al. Cognitive therapy versus med-
ication in augmentation and switch strategies as second-step treatments: a
STAR*D report. Am J Psychiatry. 2007;164:739-752.
3. Weinshilboum R. Inheritance and drug response. N Engl J Med.
4. Dalen P, Dahl ML, Ruiz ML, Nordin J, Bertilsson L. 10-Hydroxylation of
nortriptyline in white persons with 0, 1, 2, 3, and 13 functional CYP2D6
genes. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1998;63:444-452.
5. Mrazek D. Out of the pipeline: pharmacogenomic DNA chip. Curr
Psychiatr. 2005;4:67-73.
6. Preskorn S. Reproducibility of the in vivo effect of the selective sero-
tonin reuptake inhibitors on the in vivo function of cytochrome P450 2D6:
an update (part II). J Psychiatr Pract. 2003;9:150-158.
7. Goetz MP, Knox SK, Suman VJ, et al. The impact of cytochrome P450
2D6 metabolism in women receiving adjuvant tamoxifen. Breast Cancer Res
Treat. 2007;101:113-21.
8. Schroth W, Goetz MP, Hamann U, et al. Associaiton between CYP2D6
polymorphisms and outcomes among women with early stage breast can-
cer treated with tamoxifen. JAMA. 2009;302:1429-1436.
9. Henry NL, Stearns V, Flockhart DA, Hayes DF, Riba M. Drug interactions
and pharmacogenomics in the treatment of breast cancer and depression.
Am J Psychiatry. 2008;165:1251-1255.
10. Sim SC, Risinger C, Dahl ML, et al. A common novel CYP2C19 gene vari-
ant causes ultrarapid drug metabolism relevant for the drug response to
proton pump inhibitors and antidepressants. Clin Pharmacol Ther.

11. Trivedi M, Rush A, Wisniewski S, et al. Evaluation of outcomes with
citalopram for depression using measurement-based care in STAR*D: impli-
cations for clinical practice. Am J Psychiatry. 2006;163:28.
12. Serretti A, Kato M, De Ronchi D, Kinoshita T. Meta-analysis of serotonin
transporter gene promoter polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) association with selec-
tive serotonin reuptake inhibitor efficacy in depressed patients. Mol
Psychiatry. 2007;12:247-257.
13. Serretti A, Zanardi R, Rossini D, Cusin C, Lilli R, Smeraldi E. Influence of
tryptophan hydroxylase and serotonin transporter genes on fluvoxamine
antidepressant activity. Mol Psychiatry. 2001;6:586-592.
14. Yoshida K, Itoa K, Satoa K, et al. Influence of the serotonin transporter
gene-linked polymorphic region on the antidepressant response to fluvox-
amine in Japanese depressed patients. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol
Psychiatry. 2002;26:383-386.
15. Kim DK, Lim SW, Lee S, et al. Serotonin transporter gene polymorphism
and antidepressant response. Neuroreport. 2000;11:215-219.
16. Peters E, Slager S, McGrath P, Knowles J, Hamilton S. Investigation of
serotonin-related genes in antidepressant response. Mol Psychiatry.
17. Hu XZ, Rush AJ, Charney D, et al. Association between a functional
serotonin transporter promoter polymorphism and citalopram treatment
in adult outpatients with major depression. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007;64:783-
18. Mrazek DA, Rush AJ, Biernacka JM, et al. SLC6A4 variation and citalo-
pram response. Am J Med Genet Part B. 2009;150:341-351.
19. McMahon FJ, Buervenich S, Charney D, et al. Variation in the gene
encoding the serotonin 2A receptor is associated with outcome of antide-
pressant treatment. Am J Hum Genet. 2006;78:804-814.
20. Murphy GM, Kremer C, Rodrigues HE, Schatzberg AF. Pharmacogenetics
of antidepressant medication intolerance. Am J Psychiatry. 2003;160:1830-

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P h a r m a c o l o g i c a l a s p e c t s

7 6

Pruebas farmacogenómicas en la práctica
clínica psiquiátrica

La incorporación en psiquiatría clínica de las prue-
bas farmacogenómicas ha ocurrido rápidamente en
los últimos siete años. Inicialmente se identificaron
genes de enzimas metabolizadoras de fármacos,
como el gen del citocromo P450 2D6. La tipificación
del gen del citocromo P450 2D6 que es altamente
variable da la oportunidad actualmente a los clíni-
cos de identificar a los metabolizadores pobres y los
ultrarrápidos para las sustancias que son sustrato
del 2D6. Con posterioridad se ha podido disponer
en la práctica clínica de genes que influyen en la
respuesta farmacodinámica de los medicamentos.
Entre los primeros “genes blanco” estuvo el gen del
transportador de serotonina (SLC6A4), el cual tiene
variantes que han demostrado que influyen en la
respuesta clínica de los pacientes con ancestros
europeos cuando son tratados con inhibidores
selectivos de la recaptura de serotonina. La tipifi-
cación de algunos de los genes del receptor de sero-
tonina también está disponible para guiar la prác-
tica clínica. La cuantificación de la utilidad clínica de
las pruebas farmacogenómicas está en desarrollo y
se han establecido las consideraciones éticas para
su realización. Considerando la cada vez más clara
costo-eficacia de la tipificación génica, reciente-
mente se ha pronosticado que las pruebas farma-
cogenómicas se solicitarán de rutina para orientar
la selección y dosificación de los fármacos psicotró-

Évaluation pharmacogénomique
psychiatrique en pratique clinique

L’évaluation pharmacogénomique psychiatrique
s’est rapidement imposée en pratique clinique au
cours de ces 7 dernières années. Les gènes d’en-
zymes métabolisant les médicaments, comme le
cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6), ont d’abord été
identifiés. Le génotypage de ce gène très variable
permet maintenant aux cliniciens d’identifier des
métaboliseurs lents et des métaboliseurs ultrara-
pides des substrats du 2D6. Des gènes influant sur
la réponse pharmacodynamique des médicaments
sont ensuite devenus disponibles en pratique cli-
nique. Parmi les premiers « gènes cibles », le gène
du transporteur de la sérotonine (SLC6A4) possède
des variants qui influent sur la réponse clinique des
patients d’ascendance européenne lorsqu’ils sont
traités avec des inhibiteurs sélectifs de la recapture
de la sérotonine. Le génotypage de certains gènes
du récepteur de la sérotonine est également dis-
ponible pour guider la réponse clinique. La quan-
tification de l’utilité clinique de l’évaluation phar-
macogénomique évolue et fait l’objet de
considérations éthiques. Il a été récemment prédit
qu’en raison de l’évidente rentabilité croissante du
génotypage, l’évaluation pharmacogénomique
devrait faire partie des examens de routine pour
sélectionner et ajuster la posologie des médica-
ments psychotropes.

21. Segman RH, Heresco-Levy U, Finkel B, et al. Association between the
serotonin 2A receptor gene and tardive dyskinesia in chronic schizophre-
nia. Mol Psychiatry. 2001;6:225-229.
22. Tan EC, Chong SA, Mahendran R, Dong F, Tan CH. Susceptibility to neu-
roleptic-induced tardive dyskinesia and the T102C polymorphism in the sero-
tonin type 2A receptor. Biol Psychiatry. 2001;50:144-147.
23. Lattuada E, Cavallaro R, Serretti A, Lorenzi C, Smeraldi E. Tardive dyski-
nesia and DRD2, DRD3, DRD4, 5-HT2A variants in schizophrenia: an associa-
tion study with repeated assessment. Int J Neuropsychopharmcol 2004;7:489-493.
24. Sodhi MS, Arranz MJ, Curtis D, et al. Association between clozapine
response and allelic variation in the 5-HT2C receptor gene. Neuroreport.
25. Arranz MJ, Munro J, Birkett J, et al. Pharmacogenetic prediction of
clozapine response. Lancet. 2000;355:1615-1616.
26. Gunes A, Scordo MG, Jaanson P, Dahl ML. Serotonin and dopamine
receptor gene polymorphisms and the risk of extrapyramidal side effects in
perphenazine-treated schizophrenic patients. Psychopharmacology

27. Reynolds GP, Zhang ZJ, Zhang XB. Association of antipsychotic drug-
induced weight gain with a 5-HT2C receptor gene polymorphism. Lancet.
28. Templeman LA, Reynolds GP, Arranz B, San L. Polymorphisms of the 5-
HT2C receptor and leptin genes are associated with antipsychotic drug-
induced weight gain in Caucasian subjects with a first-episode psychosis.
Pharmacogenet Genomics. 2005;15:195-200.
29. De Luca V, Muller DJ, Hwang R, et al. HTR2C haplotypes and antipsy-
chotics-induced weight gain: X-linked multimarker analysis. Hum
Psychopharmacol. 2007;22:463-467.
30. Sallee FR, DeVane CL, Ferrell RE. Fluoxetine-related death in a child with
cytochrome P-450 2D6 genetic deficiency. J Child Adolesc Psychopharmacol.
31. Koski A, Ojanpera I, Vuori E, Sajantila A. A fatal doxepin poisoning
associated with a defective CYP2D6 genotype. Am J Forensic Med Pathol.
32. Stotland NL. Presidential address. Am J Psychiatry. 2009;166:1100-1104.

DCNS_44_5.qxd:DCNS#44 10/03/10 1:44 Page 76

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