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Study finds link between genes and suicide in Celexa users

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WASHINGTON Research from the National Institute of Mental Health has associated two genetic markers with suicidal thoughts in patients who take the antidepressant drug Celexa, according to an article written by Wired magazine.

The study, which appears in the October issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, examined genetic material from 1,915 adult patients with major depression who were being treated with citalopram, Celexa’s generic name. Variants of two genes, GRIK2 and GRIA3, increased the likelihood that patients would experience suicidal thoughts.

Both genes, the study indicated, regulate how the brain processes glutamate, an amino acid that helps mediate communication between neurons in the brain.

“There is more and more information pointing to glutamate as having a significant role in antidepressant-treatment outcomes,” said Dr. Gonzalo Laje, one of the study’s authors. “We’re going to hear a lot more about it in upcoming years.”

The researchers looked at more than 700 gene sites, looking for differences between the 6 percent of patients who reported suicidal ideation and the rest of the trial population. Laje said that though this report is being published this month, it must be replicated in order to progressively help those suffering from depression.

Wired also reported the latest genetic tests might mitigate the number of serious health problems and deaths caused by detrimental drug reactions, the article said, citing that those statistics skyrocketed between1998 and 2005. Prescription-related issues during this time period accounted for approximately 468,000 hospitalizations and nearly 90,000 deaths.

Celexa has been prescribed to 8 million people in the United States and 30 million worldwide, according to the drug’s manufacturer, Forest Labs.

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