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Living a Full Life with Schizophrenia

Genesight Test For Predicting Schizophrenia: Pros And Cons

Genesight Test For Predicting Schizophrenia: Pros And Cons

When someone is suffering from a mental health disorder, the idea of medication relieving their pain can provide hope. Unfortunately, finding the right medication often turns into an extended trial-and-error process. The side effects of some psychiatric medications can cause physical suffering added on top of the pain of mental health issues. A new company, Genesight, aims to reduce this trial-and-error process.

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What Is the Genesight Test?  

Pharmacogenetic Testing

dotted form of a person

Genesight’s goal is to examine a patient’s DNA to learn how a patient metabolizes certain medications and whether the patient is resistant to a medication. This type of testing is called paramagnetic testing because it’s based on the patient’s DNA alone, rather than the patient's symptoms.


The company's test looks at the DNA of patients diagnosed with anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and post-traumatic stress syndrome. Some patients with diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder have also used the test while others have used it to treat some symptoms of autism.

Genesight Process

person holding glass tube and stick for patient test

Before ordering the test, the patient’s doctor must approve it. If a patient suggests to their doctor that they'd like to take the test, and the doctor will not agree to it, then the patient can call Genesight to speak with a "patient advocate." The patient advocate will provide advice to the patient about getting the test approved, including referring the patient to another doctor if necessary.


The actual process of taking the test is similar to the ancestry-focused genetic test, 23andme. Genesight uses a cheek swab to collect DNA. Unlike 23andMe, however, Genesight cannot be done from home; the patient’s doctor must collect saliva by swabbing the inside of the patient’s cheek.


After the doctor swabs the patient’s cheek, the swab is sent to the company's lab. The results are returned in approximately three days. These results provide lists of medications arranged in three categories: Green (“use as directed”), yellow (“use with caution”), and red (“use with increased caution and with more frequent monitoring").

Is There A Need For The Genesight Test?

Pros Of The Genesight Test

Cons Of  The Genesight Test

Concl​usion

DNA gene

Genetic testing for mental health treatment may become more prevalent in the future. For now, however, there is little research showing validity for its use. There are many treatment avenues for those suffering from mental illness. Choosing a medication based on trial-and-error can be exhausting and demoralizing. While the Genesight test could provide light on which medications could work best for a patient, the patient’s treatment should not be built around these test results alone.

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