On August 7th, NBC News aired a segment on how pharmacogenomics can help treat patients with depression. It highlighted the story of Sarah Ellis from Sioux Falls, SD who had trouble finding a combination of antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications that did not induce debilitating adverse effects. She had tried 23 different combinations of antidepressants over the course of several years until her psychiatrist intuited that pharmacogenetic (PGx) testing might help her. When her test results showed that she did carry genetic variants that affected her response to specific classes of medications, her psychiatrist prescribed an alternative class of medications and altered her dose - thereby personalizing her medications to her genetics. According to Sarah Ellis: “My energy's been really great," she says. "I feel like I can accomplish what I want to accomplish. This was definitely worth it.”
PharmGKB has been annotating these gene-drug associations since it began in 2000. Using PharmGKB, one can find drug labels annotated with pharmacogenetic information (and genetic testing recommendations if available), pathway summaries and diagrams, and clinically relevant pharmacogenetic summaries for many drugs including those used to treat depression and anxiety. PharmGKB has also contributed to research with the International SSRI Pharmacogenomics Consortium. In addition, it has contributed to the clinical implementation of PGx through the Clinical Pharmacogenetics Implementation Consortium (CPIC), which has published two guidelines (and one update) for PGx-based prescribing and dosing of two commonly prescribed classes of drugs used to treat anxiety and depression: tricyclic antidepressants (TCA) and SSRIs.