Psychiatric Medications and Genetics to be Discussed During Lecture at UAMS

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – A Mayo Clinic psychiatrist will discuss using genetic testing to determine which medication is more suitable for which patients at a lecture March 16 hosted by the Department of Psychiatry in the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).


The event, which is free and open to the public, is an Arkansas Medical Society Distinguished Lecture. It will be held from 4 – 5 p.m. in Pauly Auditorium (G219) in the UAMS College of Public Health.


David Mrazek, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., will discuss “Pharmacogenomics in Psychiatry.”


By determining which genes code for enzymes that metabolize specific psychiatric medications, researchers are determining which medications are optimal for a particular patient. A simple blood test can reveal whether a patient has one or more genes that interfere with the body’s metabolism of antidepressant drugs. In addition, it can give the physician information about which drugs are likely to cause uncomfortable side effects.


The UAMS Department of Psychiatry is joining Mrazek and researchers in the Genomic Expression and Neuropsychiatric Evaluation (GENE) Unit at the Mayo Clinic in a large study to determine how to use this approach to personalize treatments for patients.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, five centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,320 students and 690 medical residents. It is one of the state’s largest public employers with almost 9,000 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the VA Medical Center. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.3 billion a year.