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Effectiveness of certain antidepressants may be influenced by gene variations of individuals

Whether specific types of antidepressants are effective for patients with late-life major depression may depend if they have certain genetic variations, according to a study in the October 4 issue of JAMA.

Initial drug treatments fail in 30 percent to 40 percent of patients with major depression. Pharmacogenetic (the relation of genetic factors to variations in response to drugs) prediction of response is one possibility for improving antidepressant treatment, according to background information in the article. Polymorphisms (occurrence in more than one form) in the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTT) may influence antidepressant response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs a class of antidepressant drugs).

Hyeran Kim, M.D., of Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea, and colleagues conducted a study to determine whether there were significant associations between the efficacy of norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (NRIs - a class of antidepressant drugs) and norepinephrine transporter (NET) polymorphisms and also between SSRI efficacy and 5-HTT polymorphisms. If confirmed, these associations could provide a basis for predicting response to certain antidepressants. The study included 241 Korean patients with major depression. They were treated for 6 weeks with an SSRI (fluoxetine or sertraline; n = 136) or an NRI (nortriptyline; n = 105) antidepressant. The average age at onset of major depressive disorder among these patients was in the early to mid-50s.

The researchers found that the presence of certain polymorphisms, alone or in combination, was associated with response and non-response to therapy with SSRIs or NRIs.

They write that their data analysis suggests that patients carrying the GG polymorphism of NET G1287A have a statistically significantly superior rate of response to NRI treatment than to SSRI treatment (83.3 percent vs. 58.7 percent).

" this study demonstrates that the
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Contact: Doh Kwan Kim
paulkim@smc.samsung.co.kr
JAMA and Archives Journals
3-Oct-2006


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