November 02, 2017
1 min read

GeneSight improves treatment response, decreases benzodiazepine use in anxiety

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Assurex Health of Myriad Genetics recently announced study findings that indicated treatment guided by GeneSight, a pharmacogenomic test, significantly improved response and decreased benzodiazepine use in patients with generalized anxiety disorder.

“Anxiety is one of the most common mental health disorders, affecting 60 million Americans or three times the number of people with depression,” Bryan Dechairo, PhD, executive vice president of clinical development at Myriad Genetics, said in a press release. “This new study provides strong evidence that the GeneSight test can help physicians personalize treatment for patients with anxiety, leading to more effective treatment and a beneficial reduction in benzodiazepine use.”

To determine efficacy of GeneSight for anxiety, researchers analyzed data from the Individualized Medicine: Pharmacogenetic Assessment and Clinical Treatment (IMPACT) study (n = 315) and the MEDCO dataset (n = 662). In the IMPACT study, participants were assessed with the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 questionnaire. Medco participants received at least one benzodiazepine 6 months before testing and were followed for 12 months after testing.

IMPACT findings showed medication decisions that matched GeneSight test results led to statistically significant improvement in anxiety symptom severity (P = .03).

Medco data indicated 18% of participants originally receiving at least one benzodiazepine stopped using benzodiazepines after GeneSight testing, with a significant decrease in benzodiazepine drug counts and refills (P < .001).

Participants who followed GeneSight guidance saved approximately $504 on central nervous system medications per year; however, savings for benzodiazepines did not reach statistical significance.

These findings provide preliminary evidence that treatment guided by GeneSight may improve outcomes in anxiety disorders treatment and reduce costs.


Tiwari AK, et al. Combinational pharmacogenomic testing improves generalized anxiety disorder treatment response and decreases benzodiazepine use. Presented at: World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics; Oct. 13-17, 2017; Orlando, Florida.