Pharmacogenomics and Depression

Alicia Ketterer

What Pharmacogenomics Can Do

Depression has been difficult to treat, especially with the use of antidepressant medications. According to Anna Almendrala in the article, "A Blood Test For Depression Shows the Illness Is Not A Matter Of Will," there are an average of 6.7% of Americans living with depression in the United States and it takes an average of 40 months to be diagnosed. That is if the individual seeks help for their disease, which is not commonly seen with depression. This also decreases the chances for negative reactions. Pharmacogenomics, the study of how individuals metabolize medications, can allow patients better outcomes for a better quality of life. The medical staff will be more able to provide the correct medication for the individual based on their specific genetic need. The medical community will also be able to keep better track of individual clients specific medication metabolism, decreasing the risk for negative outcomes.The gene variants which change the way a person metabolizes his or her medications does not only apply to antidepressants. Nurses also need to be the patient's advocate and gaining a better understanding of pharmacogenomics as a rapidly growing field. Nurses will also have the knowledge to be more efficient through use of personalized medicine, "An effort to apply knowledge about the sequence and regulation of the human genome to medical care of individual patients (Munro, 2014)." The use of antidepressants, along with other medications, will soon have less stigma and become more effective because of the use of pharmacogenomics.

Treatment for Diseases Like Depression May Have a New Face

For many years depression has been treated with psychotherapy and antidepressant medications, which has been successful in some ways and unsuccessful in other ways. When an individual is diagnosed with clinical Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), along with other depressive disorders, they are most commonly given antidepressants. The variety of clientele, along with the abundance of antidepressant medications can make treatment very difficult, but, there have been recent studies aimed towards the genetic aspects of depression and these studies may allow for a better treatment outlook. According to a news article provided by Huffington Post called, "A Blood Test For Depression Shows The Illness Is Not A Matter Of Will," it takes an average of 40 months to be diagnosed with depression, that is if the individual seeks treatment. If the medical community could diagnose and treat depression with a single blood test many lives would be spared from suicide and the patients seeking treatment would be able to recover quicker. Also, having the chance to test clients for depression, even if they don't think they have it, would give the medical community a better chance to monitor their clients health status by catching it early, even before an individual has had a depressive episode (Almendrala, 2014).

Why Are These Findings Important to the Medical Community

The goal in medicine is to help patients be as healthy and happy as possible. Pharmacogenomics is leading the technology for better patient care within the medical community because it more efficiently produces the correct drugs, for the right patient, at the right time, as stated in the YouTube video, "Advancing the Science - Pharmacogenomics." Medicine is a rapidly progressive field and the use of the pharmacogenomic technology will help advance preventive medicine and give physicians tools that they have never before been able to utilize. This harmonious relationship between medicine and technology will greater improve patient outcomes.
Advancing the Science - Pharmacogenomics

More Personalized Nursing Interventions Can Be Implemented

As stated by Cindy L. Munro, in the discussion paper, "Individual genetic variation: a new opportunity for personalized nursing interventions," nursing is a profession with direct focus towards the human biology and behavior, in promoting health, decreasing illness, and aiding individuals with their disease progression, along with managing associated symptoms. Being that every person is unique in that they each have their own specific genetic make up, personalized nursing pertaining to pharmacogenomics only seems necessary. As nurses, we can allow for a better patient outcomes by simply focusing the nursing interventions towards individual variables in health status. After individual genetic consideration has been implemented, nurses will be able to provide more accurate health promotion, disease prevention, and symptom management (Munro, 2014).

Hope for a Better Future in Medicine

Pharmacogenomics is still a very new scientific practice, but as medicine advances, healthcare professionals and patients can only benefit. Depression is only one of many illnesses which is currently being treated by the aide of genetic testing, and for many who have this disease, hope is given. Treatment will not only be faster, but will also become more efficient with time. Nurses, along with others in the medical community, will be able to focus their interventions in a more individualized and patient specific manner. This will decrease the possibility of adverse effects from medications and inevitably save more lives.


Almendrala, A. (2014, September 16). A Blood Test For Depression Shows The Illness Is Not A Matter Of Will. Retrieved November 26, 2014, from

Munro, C. (2014, October 9). Journal of Advanced NursingEarly View, Article first published online: 9 OCT 2014. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from

Weinshilboum, M.D., R. (2014, October 21). Advancing the Science - Pharmacogenomics. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from