Finding the Right Rx: GeneFolio Helps Solve the Puzzle
Sometimes when you’re trying to find the right medication it can feel like you’re lost in a sea of possibilities.
That’s how Clazina Blom felt at times while she and her doctor tried to find the best medication and dosage to treat her anxiety and depression related to an eating disorder. In 2016 Blom, a traveling nurse who lives in northwest Iowa, took the GeneFolio® test at the urging of her care team. The test gave Meredith Powell, MD, Psychiatrist with Avera Medical Group in Sioux Falls, a clearer guideline of what medications should work better for her.
“To have some guidelines to follow was very much a relief, knowing this is what my body should respond to,” Blom said. “I hated to go through the trial and error and to have to wait three months to know if it was going to work. In the meantime I would just have to suffer through it.”
What is Genefolio?
GeneFolio is a blood test developed by Avera scientists that analyzes the patient’s DNA to understand how he or she will metabolize certain medications. GeneFolio analyzes multiple genes that impact medications in three main classes: pain, depression and other psychiatric disorders, and statins for cholesterol and certain types of blood thinners.
The test can’t tell providers what to prescribe, but it can narrow the options to a more personal level with less trial and error.
“Psychiatry is a particularly challenging field as the neurobiological origin of many of the diagnoses we treat are not fully understood, and they are also unique to the individual who is suffering,” Powell said. “GeneFolio offers helpful information that can potentially guide treatment choices resulting in a more successful outcome.”
Anxiety and depression are complicated disorders and there’s still a lot that’s unknown about their causes and treatment. GeneFolio can help provide patients some reassurance about trying a new medication.
“One of its primary benefits is that it gives patients a sense of control and confidence,” Powell said. “It’s something black and white that they can look to.”
Guided by GeneFolio, Powell was able to maximize the dosage on a medication that Blom would metabolize and tolerate well with few side effects.
While Blom has had to contend with some other health issues that have kept her from working several months, she is feeling good and focusing on maintaining her well-being during her time off.
“I’m feeling pretty good as far as I don’t feel the hopelessness,” she said. “Prior to that I was feeling so hopeless, I didn’t know how to keep going.”
Powell said tests like GeneFolio will only continue to improve as more is discovered about mental health disorders and what triggers them.
“It’s exciting to think of the coming years and what more will be discovered that will help us better understand mental health disorders and how these medications will work for patients,” she said.
Consider GeneFolio if you*:
- Take five or more medications
- Are being treated for depression, ADHD or other behavioral health conditions
- Need better pain control or are preparing for surgery
- Take certain types of blood thinners
- Take cholesterol medication
*Other medications will be added to the GeneFolio report in the future and your medication compatibility report can be updated.