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24 November 2018
Pharmacogenomics publishes expert review on pharmacogenetic tools for geriatric depression


Pharmacogenomics is pleased to publish the article ‘Pharmacogenetic guidelines and decision support tools for depression treatment: application to late-life’. This is the most authoritative review of the role of pharmacogenetics in geriatric depression to date. It is an important contribution to the literature on the management of geriatric depression which is a large and growing issue given population aging and is not normally given sufficient attention in research and clinical practice.


Co-author of the paper, Associate Professor David Merrill, noted, ‘I use pharmacogenetic tools regularly in clinical care for personalized and precise treatment of my old age patients. This expert review informs readers about the special considerations to keep in mind when applying these tools to older adults. Finding the right drug at the right dose, with fewer missteps, is an important goal in potentially frail patients.’ Merrill is Director of the Brain Health Center at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute and also affiliated with UCLA’s Division of Geriatric Psychiatry.


The paper spans discovery pharmacogenetics, through the role of pharmacogenetic guidelines and clinical tools on the market, providing an array of suggestions for future development of the science of pharmacogenetics and late-life depression, in addition to future directions for clinical practice and clinical tool development. It highlights the need for tailored clinical trials assessing the value of clinical pharmacogenetics tools in the geriatric population, as compared to most trials which are done in adults.


Co-author of the paper Professor Bernhard Baune, Head of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Melbourne, and author of the upcoming book Personalized Psychiatry, Elsevier, commented, ‘From a research perspective, the field of pharmacogenomics of old age depression has recently made significant progress although it still lags behind the field of adult psychiatry pharmacogenomics.’


‘This article is a rare example of experts from academia and industry collaborating to identify and propose solutions to a pressing issue in the field of pharmacogenetics. These types of collaborations are an asset to the advancement of the field,” said Associate Professor Chad Bousman, Head of the Psychiatric Genomics Lab at the University of Calgary, and senior author.


Corresponding author and convenor of the academic-industry expert co-authors, Dr. Harris Eyre, Chief Medical Officer of CNSDose said, ‘For the benefit of late-life patients, their families and clinicians, it is critical that responsible technology companies listen to and engage with academia. Evidence-based tools specifically tailored to the old age population are urgently needed.’


Professor Baune also commented, ‘Further investment in terms of research funding and novel research design are required to take the lessons learned from adult psychiatry and to significantly advance the field of old age psychiatry pharmacogenomics.’