GENETIC AND DRUG TESTING

Our INtegrated Treatment Approach

Genetic Testing Insights

There can be many causes and solutions to addiction. Sometimes it can be tricky to find out what those are. Just like driving without a dashboard to tell you how fast you’re going or how much gas you have left, sometimes treating addiction can work in a similar way.

For example, what if you had a genetic predisposition to alcohol addiction? What if certain anti-craving medications gave you a bad or ineffective result? Imagine how not having this information could make an already difficult recovery even harder. So, what is the solution?

INSynergy uses Genetic Testing to predict responses to anti-craving medication and risk for addiction – including drugs and alcohol.

Genetic and Drug Testing

Addiction and Genetics

Historically, addiction has been seen as a “moral defect” or “lack of will-power”. But studies have shown that 40-60% of the predisposition to addiction can be attributed to genetics. Addiction is extremely complex and there’s not just a single reason a person may get addicted to a drug when another person may have no problem with it at all.

Some people may have a genetic predisposition toward “reward deficiency syndrome”. These individuals have 30-40% less dopamine receptors. Why is this important? People with lower dopamine receptors tend to share common behaviors that are associated with addiction.

When we eat, have sex, or experience positive social interactions, dopamine is released and reminds us that these events are good and should be repeated. In other words, dopamine makes things rewarding and re-enforcing. Drugs and alcohol increase the release of endorphin, which then releases dopamine. This results in a “high”.

Genetic Testing and Treatment

Genetics can also tell you if you’re predisposed to have success with certain treatments.

For example, Naltrexone is a medication that reduces the pleasurable feelings associated with using opiates or alcohol. Naltrexone however, doesn’t work for everyone. Research has found that persons who had a certain OPRM-1 gene influenced the likelihood that a person taking naltrexone would have a “good clinical outcome”.

As part of the work-up, INSynergy offers genetic testing to predict responses to certain treatments. Additionally, metabolism of certain drugs, neurotransmitters, and vitamins, can be identified using this testing.

INSynergy Can Help Determine Your Next Steps

Dr. Taca and his team are committed to making sure all the factors are laid out and examined when it comes to your recovery process. It’s imperative that all aspects are considered, and that you’re also provided with education pertaining to potential causes and effective treatments for addiction.

Call INSynergy TODAY and take the next steps toward a life without the chains of addiction holding you down any longer.

Further Genetic Insights


Topiramate

The drug topiramate is an anticonvulsant that is often prescribed to treat migraines and seizures. It is also helpful for weight loss. Research at the University of Pennsylvania, found that a mutation in a type of glutamate receptor (GluK1 or GluK2 subunits) may predict response when given to alcoholics. When administered to people with risky drinking habits (defined as drinking more than 24 drinks a week for men and more than 15 drinks a week for women) those patients were able to reduce the number of nights of extreme drinking and also have more days of complete abstinence.

Ondansetron

Another promising pharmacogenetic target for alcohol addiction is the serotonin receptor and its related transporter molecule, which carries serotonin from one neuron to another.

Ondansetron, marketed under the brand name Zofran, is a medication currently approved to treat nausea in cancer patients may help alcoholics reduce their drinking by reducing their craving for alcohol,

A study at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio of 271 patients identified as early-onset alcoholics found that dosages of ondansetron over an 11-week period resulted in fewer drinks per day and more days of complete abstainace, compared to the control group.

In a study in 2011, a team from the University of Maryland found that drinkers with a specific mutation in a gene SLC6A4, associated with the serotonin transporter had significant reductions of alcohol use and higher abstinence while taking ondansetron.

COMT Gene

Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is one of several enzymes responsible for metabolizing and inactivating the catecholamine neurotransmitters, including dopamine and norepinephrine and also controls the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the cortex.

A study found that a variant of the COMT gene, Val158 allele, resulted in lower dopamine concentrations in the prefrontal cortex and was associated with inefficient frontal lobe function and behavior disinhibition leading to impulsive behavior and addictive behavior.

What is MTHFR?

MTHFR is an enzyme that breaks down folic acid (Vit B-9) to its usable form for the body. The MTHFR gene produces this enzyme that is necessary for properly using vitamin B9. This gene plays a key role with regard to many aspects of emotional and physical health.

The presence of an MTHFR deficiency or mutation can be linked to certain mental health issues like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). MTHFR mutations also increase the risk of several physical health problems, including but not limited to cardiovascular disease and stroke, recurrent early miscarriage, migraine with aura, osteoporosis, and some cancers. Treatment of MTHFR deficiency with the usable form of folate (L-methy-folate) can improve response to certain medications for depression.


Protective Genes

The Asian flush

Individuals who experience flushing when drinking may be less prone to alcoholism. This is called “The Asian Flush” because this genetic deficiency of Aldehyde Dehydrogenase (ALDH2), is common in some Asians. This reaction is the result of an accumulation of acetaldehyde, a toxic byproduct of metabolizing of alcohol. The resulting irritating flushing reaction takes all the fun out of drinking for some predisposed people.

The Bitterness Gene

Studies have shown that some people are less interested in drinking beer because of the perceived bitterness taste. Researchers already new that some people (about 1/4 of the population) have a version of one taste receptor gene, known as TAS2R38, that makes them more sensitive to the perception of bitter. The perceived bitterness was correlated with unpleasant sensations from beer. Those who tasted bitterer beer also report ethanol, and red wines, as more bitter or irritating.