• Why Isn’t Your Medication Working? It Could Be Your Genes

    on Feb 14th, 2018

Whether you have depression, generalized anxiety, social anxiety, panic disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), you may be prescribed one or more medications to help control your symptoms and complement your counseling and therapy sessions.

There are lots of medications, and they don’t all work for everyone. What works well for one patient and helps them feel tremendously better may make another patient feel no better at all, or possibly worse from the drug’s side effects.

Some studies show that about 40% of patients with mental illness stop taking their medications within 90 days due to unpleasant side effects or because they’ve seen no improvement in their symptoms.

Whether you feel the same or worse (more depressed or more anxious), or you have a whole new set of symptoms since starting your medication -- it’s critical that you follow up with us and let us know how you’re doing on your medicine.

Bottom line: If your current medicine isn’t helping you, we can try another one.

How do you know which medications to try?


Here at Folsom Psychiatry Associates, we offer genetic testing to our patients to help determine which medication may work best to alleviate your symptoms. We also consider your past history of medication use to see which types helped you and which ones made you feel worse.

What do my genes have to do with medications?

Genetic testing that’s done to determine someone’s possible reactions to a medication is known as pharmacogenomic testing. The “pharmaco” portion of the work relates to pharmacology and the study of medications, while the “genomic” part refers to your genes.

Pharmacogenomic testing shows if your genes indicate you may be more susceptible to the possible side effects of certain medications. The tests can also tell us what medications may be the most effective in reducing your symptoms. These tests can also give us insight into how your body is genetically programmed to process certain types of medications.

All of this information helps us determine what dose of a medication may be best suited for your mind and body to best treat your symptoms.

Drug-gene testing only needs to be performed one time, as your genes and their programmed responses to different medicines always remain the same.

Can testing me for one drug tell me how I’ll react to other drugs?

No. A test will be ordered for each drug your provider is considering for you. There isn’t one test that tells us how you’ll react to all medications. Not every drug has a test yet, but many of the medications we use for treating symptoms related to mental health conditions do have genetic tests available.

If your psychiatric medication is not working, call us at Folsom Psychiatry Associates in Folsom, California, for an appointment. Whether you’re new to us, or an existing patient, we’ll personalize your care and work with you to find a treatment that helps you feel better.

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