The emerging role of pharmacogenetics: implications for clinical psychiatry

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This article aims to review the implications of pharmacogenetics for clinical psychiatry; these are discussed in the context of environmental and sociocultural factors.


A selective literature review was conducted using Medline search and other relevant references available to the authors.


The individual differences in therapeutic and adverse effects of psychotropic drugs are largely determined by genetic factors. Recent advances in pharmacogenetics have highlighted the potential utility in predicting metabolic phenotypes, risks for side-effects and likelihood of drug response for the individual patient.


Genotyping, especially for drug metabolizing enzymes, could enable more rational, cost-effective and optimal prescribing in future psychopharmacotherapy. Although the advances of pharmacogenetics may have many benefits in clinical practice, the importance of non-genetic factors must also be considered as cultural and environmental factors significantly impinge on response to medications. To clarify the extent pharmacogenetics can be adopted in clinical practice to predict drug response in patients from diverse backgrounds, further studies in different ethnic groups and clinical settings are required.

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