Pharmacogenetics and antipsychotics: therapeutic efficacy and side effects prediction

Expert Opin Drug Metab Toxicol. 2011 Jan;7(1):9-37. doi: 10.1517/17425255.2011.532787.


Importance of the field: Antipsychotic drug is the mainstay of treatment for schizophrenia, and there are large inter-individual differences in clinical response and side effects. Pharmacogenetics provides a valuable tool to fulfill the promise of personalized medicine by tailoring treatment based on one's genetic markers.

Areas covered in this review: This article reviews the pharmacogenetic literature from early 1990s to 2010, focusing on two aspects of drug action: pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Genetic variants in the neurotransmitter receptors including dopamine and 5-HT and metabolic pathways of drugs including CYP2D6 and COMT were discussed in association with clinical drug response and side effects.

What the reader will gain: Readers are expected to learn the up-to-date evidence in pharmacogenetic research and to gain familiarity to the issues and challenges facing the field.

Take home message: Pharmacogenetic research of antipsychotic drugs is both promising and challenging. There is consistent evidence that some genetic variants can affect clinical response and side effects. However, more studies that are designed specifically to test pharmacogenetic hypotheses are clearly needed to advance the field.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase / genetics
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase / metabolism
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6 / metabolism
  • Dopamine / genetics
  • Dopamine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Movement Disorders / drug therapy
  • Movement Disorders / pathology
  • Pharmacogenetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Precision Medicine
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy
  • Schizophrenia / genetics
  • Serotonin / genetics
  • Serotonin / therapeutic use


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Serotonin
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2D6
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase
  • Dopamine