Genetic differences among patients are likely to contribute to differences in their response to psychotropic medications, as well as their risk of developing adverse effects (Malhotra, Murphy, & Kennedy, 2004). The term pharmacogenetics refers to the use of molecular genetic approaches to investigate differences in drug response and tolerability. One approach to understanding pharmacogenetic differences is through the study of pharmacokinetics, which was discussed in last months Psychopharmacology article (Howland, 2006). The other main approach is through the study of pharmacodynamics (Evans & McLeod, 2003).
Dr. Howland is Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The author discloses that he has no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity, including research support.
Address correspondence to Robert H. Howland, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, 3811 OHara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213; e-mail: HowlandRH@upmc.edu.