Online test aims to predict best antidepressant... - Thyroid UK

Thyroid UK

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Online test aims to predict best antidepressants for individual patients

helvella profile image
18 Replies

So all the research over many decades into anti-depressants doesn't seem to give even the slightest clue as to which one might work? Yet, as has been said here so many times, they are dished out far more readily than thyroid hormones, especially liothyronine (T3).

Doesn't that mean that their prescribing is not evidence-based?

I so desperately wanted to comment to Dr Claire Gillan that I fervently hope that liothyronine will be included. Of course it won't, but we need to shout. And comments are not open on this article which rather puts a stop on that approach. :-(

Online test aims to predict best antidepressants for individual patients

Researchers hope to improve current trial and error approach by devising algorithm based on a person’s cognitive characteristics

Researchers are developing an internet-based tool they hope will predict the effectiveness of antidepressants for individual patients, ending the current prescription lottery.

Patients with depression often try many different drugs before settling on one that works, but a study aims to help clinicians make an informed choice as to which is likely to work best for a particular person.

Dr Claire Gillan, at Trinity College Dublin, likened deciding which antidepressant to prescribe to a “flip of a coin” at present. But she hopes to create an algorithm that will take away the need for trial and error, potentially transforming treatment for millions of people.

Rest of article here:

18 Replies
BadHare profile image

Not so happy with that approach, either, yet they're still pushed by medics as ignorant as endos!

As my son says, when one has only a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Psychaitrists & psychologists seem to have a very limited toolbox.

Hillwoman profile image
Hillwoman in reply to BadHare

I like Dr Healy, especially his post on the Surrendered Doctor.

BadHare profile image
BadHare in reply to Hillwoman

Hillwoman Every doctors surgery & hospital ward should have that on the wall, & be part of the hypocratic oath!

Hillwoman profile image
Hillwoman in reply to BadHare

I'd love to see that. :-)

greygoose profile image

Depressing, isn't it.

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to greygoose

It is. But I have emailed her to invite her to come and view some of the posts here.

Probably will get lost in her junk mail but we have to try...

greygoose profile image
greygoose in reply to helvella

We do, indeed.

Nanaedake profile image
Nanaedake in reply to helvella

I hope she realises how many people are on this forum.

Justiina profile image

I have understood that best way to figure out possibly suitable ad is to test how one metabolise the drug. It doesn't tell if you benefit from the drug ,but tells which one causes one less side effects as if you do not metabolise the drug very well it might of course cause you more depression/anxiety.

Suitability to drugs is already possible, I don't understand why it's not in use as wide as it should be. Would help everyone.

Finnish company has developed a test that measures basically everything and in near future it's available. It can be used to for example suitability of thyroxine, that will be interesing. They test this all from saliva, from drugs to food to vitamins and nutrients.

Online tests never include physiological individuality. Instead of developing online test they should concentrate on creating a test that proves the need of ad's :P

helvella profile image
helvellaAdministrator in reply to Justiina


The whole approach to blood testing is based on one thing: The doctor has to guess which test(s) are appropriate (and affordable).

Somewhat ironically, the familiar Full Blood Count (also known as Complete Blood Count) actually goes some way down the line of doing everything in one go. This is because much of it is just adding further analysis by computerised systems to an existing sample.

We see so many people here who didn't get any form of thyroid test, sometimes for years, it emphasises how fallible the current system is. Anyone presenting with signs and symptoms other than the few regarded as universal is likely to get missed.

Justiina profile image
Justiina in reply to helvella

That is true.

That is why I hope these finnish companies developing new tests will get into markets as they test more from less blood meaning costs won't be the issue. That way even the stupidest doctor can accidentally for example find out the patient could indeed be hypo.

nightingale-56 profile image
nightingale-56 in reply to Justiina

Justiina Good to hear from you again. The sooner this Finnish company get this test to market the better! This would be so good to test the suitability of Levothyroxine for Thyroid patients. Happy, healthy New Year to you.

Justiina profile image
Justiina in reply to nightingale-56

Thanks :) haven't been on the forum as I am very unsure what to even write about. I had high hopes the pattern of supplements would help at least a bit or would show in blood, but nothing much happened. My doctor is somewhat puzzled as am I. So haven't had much to say lately. Been also busy with new puppy, keeps me occupied!

TSH110 profile image

Given the evidence for T3’s efficacy in treating the most recalcitrant depression:

it really ought to be included in her study.

Good work in raising it with her Helvella 😉 here’s hoping she does take note.

Josiesmum profile image

There are contact details for Dr Claire Gillan on this page:

I fail to see how anyone can predict anything about antidepressants when no one has a clue how they actually work and there are no tests to see whether your brain is actually low or high in any of the things they "think" might be affected by ADs.

Gambit62 profile image

seems like part of the on-going trend in looking at treating of symptoms rather than causes.

There are so many things that will cause depression and anxiety but there is no attempt to look into which is the actual cause with a particular patient ... let alone realising that it might actually be more effective to really treat the causes rather than the symptoms.

Spareribs profile image
Spareribs in reply to Gambit62

such is life Gambit - 10 mins consultation time (if you're lucky) barely enough to sort symptoms let alone causation - lot if it about this dark time of year J :D x

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