With the ongoing global pandemic, many people are isolated from their families, friends, and the rest of the world. This can be challenging for older adults for a variety of reasons, including unfamiliarity with staying in touch with others through online platforms or shrinking social circles as they age. A study carried out by the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging found that 43 percent of adults (age 50 or above) experienced moderate to high levels of symptoms of depression at the start of COVID-19, and the symptoms increased over time.

In addition, older adults often suffer from other medical problems and medications that increase the likelihood of social isolation. An aging body changes the way certain medications are metabolized and broken down after ingestion. Therefore, it is important for older adults to understand the effects of their medications on themselves. Read on to learn more about the use of antidepressants in older adults.

Side Effects of Antidepressants

As adults age, the likelihood of experiencing side effects while taking antidepressants increases. While many of these side effects are harmless, such as dry mouth, there are also serious reactions that can affect your ability to function. These include cardiac arrhythmias, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and excessive fatigue, which increase the risk of falls or injury. Therefore, finding the right medication for each patient is extremely important and time-sensitive. However, each patient is unique, and mental health conditions are incredibly complex, often requiring a trial-and-error process to find the best treatment for each case. This is where the field of pharmacogenomics has recently proven useful to medical practitioners.

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How Can Pharmacogenetic Testing Help?

Pharmacogenetics is the study of genetics, where experts look for unique biomarkers to determine how a patient’s genes metabolize prescription drugs. Knowing a patient’s gene expression takes the guesswork out of determining which drug is best for them, and it can also help doctors adjust the dosage of the medication so that you receive the right treatment. Another benefit of genetic testing is that it reduces the likelihood that you will receive medications that have serious side effects. Pharmacogenetic testing for mental health medications such as depression is especially beneficial for older people because they may be at higher risk for side effects when taking certain medications, with delirium, orthostatic hypotension, falls, renal failure, and intracranial and gastrointestinal bleeding amongst the most common adverse drug reactions.

How is Genetic Testing Performed?

Contrary to what most people think, the procedure is quick and hassle-free. All you have to do is take a DNA sample and send it to a lab for analysis. The method varies for different tests, but often a simple cheek swab or saliva sample is needed. Specialists examine your DNA to find specific biomarkers related to how your body metabolizes mental health medications. This is a way to determine whether or not a drug will be effective, even before it is prescribed for you. Your genes provide the necessary information for your doctor to understand which medication is the best treatment for you, therefore preventing you from experiencing any unpleasant reactions or side effects.

Choose ClarityX for Genetic Testing

If you would like to take a genetic test to find out which medications are best for your condition, ClarityX offers convenient and easy in-home testing options that cover a range of mental health conditions. The ClarityX Mindwell test reports on over 130 mental health medications. We believe that everyone deserves the best treatment tailored to their needs. Purchase our Mindwell Test to better understand your body and take control of your health today.