Impact of pharmacogenomics on clinical outcomes in major depressive disorder in the GUIDED trial: A large, patient- and rater-blinded, randomized, controlled study

J Psychiatr Res. 2019 Apr:111:59-67. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2019.01.003. Epub 2019 Jan 4.


Current prescribing practices for major depressive disorder (MDD) produce limited treatment success. Although pharmacogenomics may improve outcomes by identifying genetically inappropriate medications, studies to date were limited in scope. Outpatients (N = 1167) diagnosed with MDD and with a patient- or clinician-reported inadequate response to at least one antidepressant were enrolled in the Genomics Used to Improve DEpression Decisions (GUIDED) trial - a rater- and patient-blind randomized controlled trial. Patients were randomized to treatment as usual (TAU) or a pharmacogenomics-guided intervention arm in which clinicians had access to a pharmacogenomic test report to inform medication selections (guided-care). Medications were considered congruent ('use as directed' or 'use with caution' test categories) or incongruent ('use with increased caution and with more frequent monitoring' test category) with test results. Unblinding occurred after week 8. Primary outcome was symptom improvement [change in 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D17)] at week 8; secondary outcomes were response (≥50% decrease in HAM-D17) and remission (HAM-D17 ≤ 7) at week 8. At week 8, symptom improvement for guided-care was not significantly different than TAU (27.2% versus 24.4%, p = 0.107); however, improvements in response (26.0% versus 19.9%, p = 0.013) and remission (15.3% versus 10.1%, p = 0.007) were statistically significant. Patients taking incongruent medications prior to baseline who switched to congruent medications by week 8 experienced greater symptom improvement (33.5% versus 21.1%, p = 0.002), response (28.5% versus 16.7%, p = 0.036), and remission (21.5% versus 8.5%, p = 0.007) compared to those remaining incongruent. Pharmacogenomic testing did not significantly improve mean symptoms but did significantly improve response and remission rates for difficult-to-treat depression patients over standard of care ( NCT02109939).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / metabolism*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Pharmacogenomic Testing*
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A / genetics
  • Remission Induction
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Young Adult


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Receptor, Serotonin, 5-HT2A
  • SLC6A4 protein, human
  • Serotonin Plasma Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System

Associated data