News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Precision prescribing to combat Australia’s expected surge in mental illness

Health Industry Hub | July 15, 2020 |
[Total: 1    Average: 5/5]

Pharma News: COVID-19 social isolation, familial and community disconnection, shock, job loss and health fears create the perfect storm for a person who is vulnerable to mental illness. 

1 million Australians suffer from depression in any one year.

New modelling by the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre confirms our fears, that the COVID-19 pandemic may see more deaths by suicide than by the virus itself. Predictions estimate a 25% increase to suicide rates and even higher rates for younger Australians.

In a recent submission to the Australian Department of Health, myDNA outlined how precision prescribing and pharmacogenomics could be a a new, and vitally important, dimension in the fight against such a shocking tidal wave of suicide and depression.

Specialists or GPs employ a level of guess work when recommending which anti-depressant treatment will work the first time. Studies show, 50% of the time, it will take three or more attempts of prescribing yet another medicine before the right treatment finally settles for that patient. This is because, when it comes to mental health, our genes run interference with how we react to medication.

Australian-based company, myDNA, has researched and developed a new way of determining the best antidepressant treatment for patients suffering from mental health disorders. This is achieved through a genetic test that can reveal a person’s ability to processes and metabolise certain medications. Known as Pharmacogenomics, this test is converted into vital knowledge for a doctor, who can then be certain that the medication they prescribe is personalised and accurate – the first time.

This type of test is now used by Australia’s leading pathology services providing such tests for doctors and support services in pharmacies across the country. 

Amid fears that this pandemic could spawn a ‘generational mental health crisis,’ pharmacogenomics and with it, precision prescribing, have an important role to play in protecting those Australians struggling with mental illness. 


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