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Antidepressant pharmacogenetics

Singh, Ajeet B.a; Bousman, Chad A.b,c,d,e; Ng, Cheeb; Berk, Michaela,b,d,f

Current Opinion in Psychiatry: January 2014 - Volume 27 - Issue 1 - p 43–51
doi: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000023
MOOD AND ANXIETY DISORDERS: Edited by Cornelius Katona and Gordon Parker

Purpose of review This article reviews recent literature published over the period March 2012–August 2013 on antidepressant pharmacogenetics, with a focus on clinical translation and methodological challenges.

Recent findings Recently, various polymorphisms associated with differential antidepressant efficacy, tolerability, and safety have emerged in association studies, but mixed findings, limited effect sizes, and poor control of confounders have prevented findings translating to practice. Although promising steps have been made, empirically robust clinically translatable pharmacogenetic tests are not yet established. The complex neurobiology of major depressive disorder (MDD) together with the evolving understanding of genetic processes present research challenges for clinical translation.

Summary Early reports of clinical utility are published. The current evidence base for antidepressant pharmacogenetics is, however, not yet empirically robust enough to inform routine prescribing guidelines. Over the coming years, genetically guided versus unguided trials will help determine if antidepressant pharmacogenetics merits more widespread application.

aIMPACT Strategic Research Centre, School of Medicine, Deakin University, Geelong

bDepartment of Psychiatry

cDepartment of General Practice, The University of Melbourne

dFlorey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health, Parkville

eCentre for Human Psychopharmacology, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn

fOrygen Youth Health Research Centre, Parkville, Australia

Correspondence to Dr Ajeet B. Singh, PO Box 9148, St Albans Park, Victoria 3219, Australia. Tel: +61 3 52487211; fax: +61 3 52484767; e-mail:

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins