ABCB1 Gene and Anti-depressant Efficacy

Antidepressant medications treat depression by working to balance some of the natural chemicals in our brains. Genetic variations can play a role in how we transport and metabolize antidepressant drugs.

The clinical efficacy of antidepressants acting on the central nervous system depends on their ability to pass the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier, protects the central nervous system from potentially dangerous substances in the rest of the body and the ABCB1 gene encodes a transporter protein that is involved in carrying substances across this barrier.

Polymorphisms in the ABCB1 gene predict the response to antidepressant treatment in those depressed patients receiving drugs that have been identified as substrates of ABCB1. The capacity of the drug to act as an ABCB1-transporter substrate and the patient's ABCB1 genotype are strong predictors for achieving a remission. This finding can be viewed as a further step into personalized antidepressant treatment. 1

A study1 found two SNPs in the ABCB1 gene that were associated with the likelihood that a person's depression symptoms would improve after taking one of four antidepressants: amitriptyline (Elavil), paroxetine (Paxil), venlafaxine (Effexor), or citalopram (Celexa).

Related to:
depression, amitriptyline (Elavil), paroxetine (Paxil), venlafaxine (Effexor), or citalopram (Celexa)