Comment

Genetics and the side effects of psychoactive medicines

Catherine Clarke says testing patients’ genotypes could help to identify and minimise potential neurotoxic responses and adverse drug reactions
Pharmogenetics

Catherine Clarke says testing patients’ genotypes could help to identify and minimise potential neurotoxic responses and adverse drug reactions.

I believe genotype testing – pharmacogenetic screening – is essential for the safety and well-being of patients taking psychiatric medication. I also believe nurses have a right to know why some patients respond therapeutically to medication and others deteriorate.

Within general medicine, genetic screening is undertaken prior to prescribing medication for certain diseases, providing patients with a safety net against life-threatening adverse drug reactions. Screening does not take place in relation to mental health problems, leaving patients without a medication safety net – which I believe to be unacceptable and discriminatory.

Research shows that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can induce akathisia, insomnia, suicide/suicide ideation, psychosis, homicide/ideation and mania, while they are also

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