There are 108 genetic variants that map into 8 major psychiatric conditions.  This is valuable information. Unfortunately, this information has no relevance to how patients are treated today.  We can’t use this information to diagnose mental health problems and we can’t use it to determine how to treat patients.

On the contrary, we have advanced the science in our treatment of cancer based on genetics. We can analyze the cancer’s DNA and the patient’s DNA and then determine based on the genetic variants ( mutations) which medications to use to treat the cancer. This is called prescision oncology.  It is a core part of the work that we do at RCM Health Consultancy in providing advice for patients with cancer.

But that is exactly what is lacking in psychiatry.  We need prescision psychiatry. We should be able to analyze the patient’s genes and determine what disease they have and then determine how it should be treated with an entirely new class of drugs.   I assume that researchers and the pharma industry are at least a decade away from precision psychiatry becoming real.

The closest that we come to this today is pharmacogenomics. We can analyse the patient’s genes to determine how they will react to psychiatric medications.

A saliva test is done. The genes analyzed can tell us what medications to use, what medications to avoid and what dosing of the medications should be used.  This is as close as we come to precision psychiatry today. But it is a start.

At least we have pharmacogenomics to help our team at RCM Health Consultancy to help our patients with complex mental health concerns.

Raymond Rupert patient advocate