Savvy Psychopharmacology

Pharmacogenomics testing: What the FDA says

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Unfortunately, this information might be difficult to locate due to the lack of consistency regarding where it is placed in the FDA-approved drug labeling. The Pharmacogenomics Knowledgebase ( can help clinicians quickly identify information regarding medications, their metabolic pathways, CPIC dosing guidelines, and the FDA-approved drug labeling information.9 By searching for specific medications within the Pharmacogenomic Knowledge Base, information regarding the FDA-approved drug labeling can be easily found, which is important because currently >120 medications contain pharmacogenomics information in their FDA-approved drug labeling.10


Overall Mr. R’s pharmacogenomics testing results indicate that he has 2 genotypes that are associated with poor metabolism phenotypes and could result in reduced metabolism of medications that are metabolized by these CYP enzymes, leading to higher blood levels and an increased risk of adverse effects. The Table11 lists pharmacogenomics information from the FDA-approved drug labeling and from the Pharmacogenomics Knowledgebase for both the medications Mr. R has previously been prescribed and for several potential medications to consider.

FDA-approved drug labeling and PharmGKB information for select antidepressants

It would be prudent to first discuss with Mr. R the FDA’s recent policy statement and safety communication. While you could recommend that he pursue additional pharmacogenomics testing, it is unclear which specific laboratory is available to conduct this confirmatory analysis.

Because Mr. R has had unsuccessful trials of several medications that primarily fall in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors class, it might be time to consider a medication from a different class. A quick review of the FDA-approved drug labeling for bupropion indicates that its metabolism is not dependent on CYP2D6 or CYP2C19, which might make this drug a good choice. Furthermore, the metabolism of venlafaxine does not appear to be influenced by CYP2D6 poor metabolism, which might also make it a good choice for Mr. R.

Related Resources

  • Gammal RS, Gardner KN, Burghardt KJ. Where to find guidance on using pharmacogenomics in psychiatric practice. Current Psychiatry. 2016;15(9):93-94.
  • Clinical Pharmacogenomics Implementation Consortium. What is CPIC?

Drug Brand Names

Bupropion • Wellbutrin, Zyban
Citalopram • Celexa
Paroxetine • Paxil
Sertraline • Zoloft
Venlafaxine • Effexor


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