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Genes Determine Efficacy of Antipsychotic Medication

A new research study addresses how individual genetic makeup influences the effectiveness (and side effects) of a particular antipsychotic medication in adults and children. Pharmacogenetics is an emerging field of study as scientists seek to determine how an individual will react to a drug prior to administration of the medication.

Risperidone, a popular “atypical” antipsychotic medication, is used to treat mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Genes Determine Efficacy of Antipsychotic MedicationJeffrey Bishop, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy , is examining the effects of one gene, catechol-o-methyltransferase, on brain activity, cognition and symptom response to the drug.

The study is being done in adults who are experiencing their first episode of schizophrenia who are treated with risperidone for six weeks as part of UIC’s First Episode Program.

“Allowing patients with schizophrenia an increased chance at medication response literally could change their lives,” Bishop said.

“While we know a great deal about the pharmacology of antipsychotics like risperidone, there is still much to learn about their influence on cognition and brain function, as well as how genetics affect overall medication response,” he said.

Bishop says the project will serve as a first step toward a comprehensive pharmacogenetic analysis of metabolic pathways affecting response to the drug. He was presented with an award for new investigators from the American College of Clinical Pharmacy for the project.

The UIC Center for Cognitive Medicine’s First Episode Program, directed by Dr. John Sweeney, has been studying patients with first-episode schizophrenia for the past five years.

Bishop is also beginning a second project to study how risperidone may elevate prolactin levels and cause weight gain in children ages 8-18 who suffer from pediatric bipolar disorder. An increase in prolactin (a pituitary hormone that may affect bone development) or weight gain occurs in some but not all of these young patients.

“We are trying to determine if some kids are at a greater risk than others for these problems by analyzing genetic markers,” Bishop said.

Bishop said if children are to receive long-term drug therapy, clinicians need to make sure they are appropriately monitored and treated as safely as possible.

“Understanding risperidone pharmacogenetics and whether some individuals are at a higher risk for side effects is an important step in this process,” he said.

Risperidone is widely prescribed to treat bipolar disorder in children, accounting for half of all atypical antipsychotic prescriptions in pediatric psychiatry. Adverse drug effects, such as weight gain and the possibility of prolactin elevation, are often dose-limiting and affect medication compliance.

Source: University of Illinois at Chicago

Genes Determine Efficacy of Antipsychotic Medication

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Genes Determine Efficacy of Antipsychotic Medication. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2006/11/10/genes-determine-efficacy-of-antipsychotic-meds/399.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.