Tailored medicine?

A lady with depression

Over the next decade or two, we are likely to see a better understanding of what medicines work best for an individual.

I’m sure this will apply to all medicines, but let’s take an example of medications for depression.

Rather than saying, take this anti-depressant, because we know – on average across a large patient group likes yours – that they seem to confer a benefit, the doctor will be able to drill-down’ to smaller and smaller sub-groups of people more precisely like you and see if a particular medicine works even better.

One of the parameters that will allow this narrowing down will be your genes. And here’s a fascinating study which shows that, depending on your genes, some SSRI anti-depressants can work better than others.

All this means that, in the future, we can expect the blunt approach of some medicines to be sharpened up and selectively used when they are far more likely to help.