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Antidepressant Effectiveness influenced by Gene Variations
Written by Jeanne Bohm, Ph.D.   

From the medical news feed

Initial drug treatments fail in a significant percentage of depressed patients. However, pharmacogenetic prediction of response may improve antidepressant treatment.

Specific types of antidepressants used for late-life major depression are effective on only certain genetic variations, according to a study in the October 4 issue of JAMA. Polymorphisms in the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTT) may influence antidepressant response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Hyeran Kim, M.D. of Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea, and colleagues found associations between the efficacy of norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors and norepinephrine transporter (NET) polymorphisms. They also studied the relationship between SSRI efficacy and 5-HTT polymorphisms. The study involved 241 Korean patients with major depression who were treated for 6 weeks with an SSRI (fluoxetine or sertraline; n = 136) or an NRI (nortriptyline; n = 105) antidepressant.

Researchers found that certain polymorphisms, alone or in combination, were associated with response and lack of response to therapy with SSRIs or NRIs. The data suggest patients with the GG polymorphism of NET G1287A have a statistically significant greater response to NRI treatment than to SSRI treatment (83.3 percent vs. 58.7 percent). The authors said their data confirmed a relationship between SSRI response and 5-HTT polymorphisms as well as indicated a possible association between NRI response and the NET G1287A polymorphism. They also indicated a possible role for a 5-HTTLPR s/l variation in the efficacy of NRI and SSRI agents.

Implications of the study include use of refined pharmacogenetic data to identify effective treatments for depression.

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News Release:

Article: JAMA. 2006;296:1609-1618.

About the Author

Jeanne Bohm, Ph.D. is a cancer biologist by training, a medical writer and an experienced science educator.

The author has no financial relationship to any of the companies listed in the article.

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