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Date of last update: 8/24/2017.

Forum Name: Antidepressants

Question: Definitive Lab Tests for Prescribing Antidepressants

 InNeed - Tue Nov 11, 2008 8:38 pm

What definitive lab tests are available to determine the chemical/hormonal causes of depression and which antidepressants would best treat my depression with the least harmful side affects.

Through my own investigation, I have found a Cytochrome P450 Test pioneered at the Mayo clinic and various urine analysis tests which claim to successfully measure neurotransmitter deficiancies (Serotonin, Dopamine, Neoropenephrin, Gaba, etc).

Having sufferred recurring bouts of depression since 1980, I my clinicians to date have utilized the "Trial and Error" method of antidepressent treatment. Currently in a state of depression, I am looking for a psychiatrist (i.e. clinician) in NJ who might utilize Lab testing before prescribing.

Can you offer me any guidance?
 simonne westort LPN - Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:15 am

Plasma monitoring to adjust dosages in a prescribed antidepressant are used when a patient is already on an antidepressant. Since depression is from the imbalance in brain chemistry and decreased serotonin levels, there are possible genetic testing to see what you would need.
A psychiatrist could identify this genetic variant and then steer you to a different class of antidepressants. Other genes may play a role in the adverse effects. This new field may also help find what drugs may produce toxic side effects to the patient. It can be tricky, since nearly all drugs are metabolized by a group of enzymes that vary greatly in activity from person to person. If you have a genetic mutation that results in either deficient enzyme activity or none, they would be likely to have serious side effects if you were exposed to the drug that is metabolized by the enzyme.
A patient can be routinely screened for these genetic variations wich will tell your doctor which drugs to avoid. this could prevent major drug toxicity , which is a major cause of illness and death. I wish you lots of luck on your results to find a psychiatrist who will do this testing. There seems to be some states that have a higher percentage rate that do the testing.
With new technology, it is a positive thing besides trial and error for use of antidepressants. So many people have to be on a numerous amount before finding the right one.
 InNeed - Wed Nov 12, 2008 1:40 pm


Thanks for your quick reply.

However, can you provide the specific names of definitive these tests for determining appropriate antidepressant treatment?

Can you recommend psychiatrists or psychiatric centers who utilize and interpert these tests? If you can provide this information, who can?

So far I have contacted the Phyciatric tepartments at Mount Sanai, NY Columbia Presbyterian, Mass. General and the Mayo Clinic. All offer "Expert Evaluations varying from 1-3 days and ultimately making treatment recommendations but only the Mayo Clinic option includes testing (their Cytochrome P450 test).

Ideally, I need the name of a local (NJ) psychiatrist that would test before prescribing yet another another antidepresson. It's been 5 months of trial and error with no success.

 simonne westort LPN - Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:53 pm

In need,
I think this link may help. Hopefully it can bring you some guidance.
As far as the actual testing, there has to be some psychologists nearby the
area where you live which can provide any information if the testing can be done
in your area. Good luck to you.
 simonne westort LPN - Wed Nov 12, 2008 7:57 pm

It looks as if you've already searched the mayo clinic, so you may have stumbled upon the link before.
Maybe you could find a list of psychologists in a New Jersey phone listing.

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