Dr. Katherine Siminovitch
Genetics Researcher, Rheumatologist, & Co-Founder, Inagene Diagnostics
Pharmacogenetic testing is changing how medications are prescribed and taking away much of the guesswork, especially for mental health and pain medications.
Covid-19 has led to new or exacerbated stress, anxiety and depression for many.1 As a result prescriptions for mental health medications have increased, and so have the challenges that so often accompany them.2 Studies show that 2 out of 3 individuals fail the first medication they are prescribed, and spend weeks, months or years cycling through multiple drugs that either don’t provide adequate relief of symptoms, cause side effects, or both.
The transformative science of pharmacogenetics
A key reason why the trial-and-error approach to prescribing often fails is that every individual is unique in how they will respond to different drugs, based on their genetics.
Pharmacogenetics is the science of how our genes impact our responses to medications. A pharmacogenetic test evaluates an individual’s genetic profile and reveals which drugs and doses are likely to work best, with the least side effects. Although until recently pharmacogenetic testing was only available to select patients at leading healthcare institutions like Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, it has recently become available to Canadians, and is quickly gaining awareness and interest.
Dr. Katherine Simininovitch, a genetics researcher and rheumatologist, co-founded Inagene Diagnostics to help accelerate the translation of new genetics knowledge into more effective patient care. “Being able to bring Canadians the transformative science of pharmacogenetics and witness the power of such information to guide, individualize, and optimize medication choices is incredibly rewarding,” she says.
Susan3, a nurse from Alberta knows firsthand how impactful pharmacogenetic testing can be. After cycling through antidepressants for 15 years, an Inagene test revealed that all the medications she had tried and failed in the past were in fact not right for her. Thanks to her test results, she’s now taking a medication compatible with her genes and has been able to return to work and regain her quality of life. “I’m telling family members and colleagues about this incredible test and what it can do to save time and frustration.” she says.
“What if, before starting a new anti-depressant, you and your doctor could look at your Inagene Personalized InsightsTM report and know which one was most likely to work for you?” says Nancy White, CEO of Inagene Diagnostics Inc. “It’s not a futuristic pipe dream….it’s a reality now.”
Inagene’s Personalized InsightsTM Pain for and Mental Health is a 5-minute cheek swab test ordered online and done at home. Offering the most comprehensive coverage of medications used in mental health and pain, it also includes a comprehensive cannabis response test. Priced considerably lower than other tests, results are available within seven days, and the online report is also automatically updated free of charge every six months with new medications as the research builds, so it can be used to guide prescribing as medical needs evolve over time.
2 Fortune Business Insights Report on Anxiety and Depression Treatment Market, Jan 2021
3 Name changed