The Current State

The Mental Health Commission of Canada confirms that Mental Health problems and illnesses are rated one of the top three drivers of both short and long-term disability claims by more than 80 percent of Canadian employers. Canadian mental health problems and illnesses account for more than $6 billion in lost productivity costs due to absenteeism. We now see that depression and anxiety disorders are concentrated in the working population and that despite our aging population, depression and anxiety have a very young face.

Mental illness, including depression, reduces life expectancy by 25 years and may have the same effect on life expectancy as smoking, and has more of an impact than obesity.

Innovative Solutions

The good news is we are able to treat mental health problems and illnesses more effectively than ever before. Researchers have been studying how specific proteins help the body process medications, including anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. By looking at specific variations in an individual’s genetic make-up, scientists can predict how an individual will react to certain medications and help physicians personalize medications for maximum safety and efficacy. The goal is to provide the ‘right medication’ the ‘first time’ at the optimal dose! The PillcheckTM Medication Optimization Service is a drug response genetic test that identifies how an individual will respond to over 74 of the most commonly prescribed medications (targeting mental health, cardiovascular disease and chronic pain management).

The Pillcheck Service

  • Identifies genetic variations that affect the way the body processes medications
  • determines which medications will work best and be safest for the individual
  • flags medications that may cause adverse side effects
  • provides expert advice from specially trained pharmacists

 

Client-centric Approach

Screening to ensure appropriate candidates for Pillcheck is crucial. Exclusion criteria include: active addiction, diagnosis of schizophrenia or bi-polar disorder, and liver transplant to name a few. The service includes a review by a specially trained pharmacist who writes a letter for the prescribing physician supporting the client’s treatment optimization – a true personalized approach to prescribing medications.

More Information

Work is important for many reasons. It provides routine, purpose, a sense of identity and belonging and the opportunity to develop skills as well as financial security.  Identifying innovative solutions to assist Canadians in resuming their regular activities, including work, through personalized medicine is a step in the right direction.

 

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