Genomind review – Effective application of pharmacogenomics?

Genomind Review Summary

Genomind is a genetic testing company that provides DNA-based recommendations for mental health medication. Read more in our Genomind review!

Nebula Genomics

Results
Price

Summary

Genomind is a prescription genetic testing company for mental health treatment that usually must be ordered through a physician. Insurance often covers a large portion of the test.

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7 Facts from our Genomind Review

  1. Location: King of Prussia, PA, USA
  2. Products: Prescription pharmacogenomic testing for mental health treatment and Mental Health Map
  3. Ordering: Mental Health Map may be ordered through the website or at Amazon; PGx through a licensed clinician or a form
  4. How it works: Clinician or patient orders the kit, patient collects sample at home, and sends the sample to Genomind; Results become available for interpretation
  5. Reports: Online portal and Neuroflow app containing Gene Variations Summary, Gene Drug Interaction Summary, and Diagnosis-Specific Summary
  6. Cost: Professional PGx EXPRESS ($399 with insurance, $2000 without insurance), Mental Health Map ($479) and that same map plus expert consultation ($599)
  7. Complementary products: Nebula Genomics (affordable whole genome sequencing)

This review is written with the intent to be as unbiased as possible. However, it represents the opinion of an individual reviewer and is therefore subjective. Furthermore, at Nebula Genomics we seek to educate the public about the benefits of Whole Genome Sequencing. Information about our Whole Genome Sequencing DNA test is therefore incorporated into the review.

October 13, 2021

Edited by Christina Swords, Ph.D.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Availability of experts to consult with clinicians
  • Prescription and non-prescription options
  • May be eligible for insurance coverage

Cons

  • Expensive if paying out of pocket
  • Some experts believe the field is inconclusive

Genomind Introduction

Genomind is a genetics testing company designed to help clinicians find effective treatments for patients and prescribe more targeted drugs. Founded in 2009, Genomind uses a world-class genetics lab to perform pharmacogenomic testing, helping determine a treatment plan that works best for patients. This method considers how a prospective treatment will affect the patient as well as how the patient’s body will affect the drug. 

The patient collects the sample at home using a common cheek swab technique. Then, the sample is sent to Genomind, who analyzes it and sends the results to the patient’s clinician. 

Genomind analyzes 24 genes linked to mental health conditions and uses this information to narrow down treatments from over 130 different medications. The results come as three Summary Reports and are available to the patient and their clinician via Genomind’s online portal and Neuroflow app. In addition, expert consultation is available for clinicians to help interpret the results and make treatment recommendations. 

Genomind also offers a commercial product, the Mental Health Map, which does not require a prescription or clinician’s approval. It is designed to inform customers of the “mental health predispositions”, but is not a diagnostic tool.

Are you interested in a test that decodes 100% of your DNA instead of testing only a few genes with Genomind? Nebula Genomics offers Whole Genome Sequencing! This is a complete DNA test that decodes all 20,000 genes and regulatory genomic regions. Click here to learn more!

Review of Genomind Science: Your DNA and Mental Health

For many people suffering from mental health issues, finding an appropriate long-term medication plan can be a frustrating exercise of trial and error. Often a patient must test the treatment response of many drugs before finding they are not treatment-resistant and experience minimal adverse effects. In some cases, patients also experience remission rates leading them to try different treatments. If genetics could inform treatment choices, patients could experience both time and cost savings.

Pharmacogenomics: Matching your prescription to your body

Variables such as age, gender, and environment are known to affect the efficacy of specific medications. However, much of this knowledge is anecdotal or not fully understood. Pharmacogenomics is a personalized medicine approach that seeks to find the reason behind these differences.

Genomind uses “pharmacogenomics” to create personalized treatment plans for patients with mental health disorders. The idea is that a patient’s genetic variants are their body’s blueprint, so the way certain drugs affect their body and how their body affects certain drugs should be encoded there. While the idea is not controversial, the state of the evidence-based field of pharmacogenomics is relatively new and controversial. 

Our GeneSight review discusses the state of pharmacogenetic testing (a slight variation on pharmacogenomics). From our previous review:

“This field has been growing for quite some time, and the research supporting the use of genetics to prescribe psychotropics has been debated, depending on the condition. For some mental disorders, there is only scarce evidence, but for others, there has been more success connecting genomics to drug metabolism.”

As of October 1, 2020, United Healthcare (UHC) has stated, “the use of pharmacogenomic multi-gene panels to guide therapy decisions is proven and medically necessary for antidepressants and antipsychotics” when all of three criteria are met:

  • The individual has a diagnosis of major depressive disorder or anxiety;
  • The individual has failed at least one prior medication to treat their condition; and
  • The multi-gene panel has no more than 15 relevant genes variants.

Genomind cites white papers it has published in peer reviewed journals on its website in support of positive clinical results from pharmacogenetic testing and pharmacogenomics.

This has significant bearing on how insurance companies offer coverage for pharmacogenetics. As always, potential customers interested in using the results of any genetic testing to make medical decisions should do so in close consultation with their doctors and health care professionals.

As for the Mental Health Map, the site’s FAQ section explains that “a complete evidence summary review document, with references, is available with purchase of the product.” Since the Mental Health Map is not a diagnostic tool, it does not need to be FDA approved.

Review of Genomind Products

Genomind provides two main products: Professional PGx EXPRESS (formerly Genecept Assay) and Mental Health Map. Only the Mental Health Map is available without a prescription.

Review of Genomind Professional PGx EXPRESS

Genomind offers two options in its Professional PGx EXPRESS line of products. Both test designs offer genetic testing and precision medicine analysis to help with treatment recommendations for patients suffering from mental illness, especially diseases such as treatment-resistant depression or patients with mood and anxiety disorders. However, the two options differ in the number of genes that are analyzed.

Genomind Professional PGx Express kit
Genomind Professional PGx Express kit

Full Mental Health Report (24 genes): Includes 24 key genes used to inform treatment for a range of psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, substance abuse and more.

Core Anxiety and Depression Report (15 genes): Includes 15 key genes used to inform treatment decisions for anxiety and depression.

Both tests offer the same services and reports but differ in how comprehensive the analysis is. The following are included with both tests:

  • Genetic implications for 130 mental health medications
  • 3 Report Summary Views for your clinician
  • Patient-level report access on Patient Gateway 
  • Expert consultation for your clinician
  • Genomind® Professional PGx Rx MetaType™ Card

Review of ordering a Genominde test

Both products can be ordered by the patient or their clinician but can only be ordered by a patient after the clinician has prescribed the test. This is unique, as most genetic testing companies do not diagnose or claim to offer medical advice. However, since Genomind’s goal is to provide health recommendations and treatment to customers, an accredited professional must order the test.

Genomind bases its analysis on FDA prescribing information, consensus expert guidelines, and data derived from hundreds of studies showing that variations in these genes may inform treatment decisions.

Review of taking a Genomind test

Taking the test is comparable to other genetic testing services. The main differences are in obtaining the test (a prescription is required), and the results and recommendations after the patient’s sample is analyzed. 

The test itself can be broken into three steps:

  1. Sample collection: a cheek swab is taken either at home by the patient or in clinic.
  2. Shipping: prepaid overnight shipping is provided so the patient’s sample can be returned to Genomind’s CLIA, CAP and New York State certified lab quickly and easily.
  3. Testing and analysis: genetic testing specific to the patient’s test package is done twice to ensure accuracy.

Once the lab analyzes the patient’s sample, an online report is generated and delivered to the patient’s clinician within 3-5 days. Results are also made available to patients through Genomind’s online portal. 

The final step is interpreting the data and using it to inform treatment. Genomind has certified MDs, PhDs, and PharmDs available to discuss the results with the patient’s clinicians. This can be done over the phone and is available for every patient.

Review of Genomind Mental Health Map

The Mental Health Map is designed to identify genetic predispositions associated with 7 Core Genetic Mental Health Capabilities. These capabilities are defined by Genomind as Stress and Anxiety, Mood, Focus and Memory, Substance Use and Habits, Sleep, Social Behavior, and Eating Behavior.

It is crucial to note that the Mental Health Map is not meant to be a diagnostic tool and does not inform on prescription medications.

Genomind Mental Health Map booklet with the 7 core genetic mental health capabilities
The Mental Health Map provides 7 core genetic mental health capabilities

What’s included?

  • Analysis of 38 genetic mechanisms that impact your mental health care and wellness
  • Seven reports that identify your predispositions
  • Genetically-based recommendations and resources
  • 30-minute consultation with a Genomind advisor
  • A 24-page guide to the “7 Core Genetic Mental Health Capabilities”
An example of the Genomind guide to stress and anxiety
The Mental Health map to Stress and Anxiety

Review of a Genomind Report

For an average consumer, the results offered by Genomind Professional PGx EXPRESS may seem lacking. For example, there is no ancestry or family history information and very little access to genetic data. This limited nature of the results is because Genomind is made specifically for clinicians to help them make treatment plans for patients with mental illness.

Health practitioners will receive individual genetic profiles and access to Genomind’s staff of Ph.D. scientists and pharmacists. Genomind provides several examples of its reports.

An example of the Genomind CORE Anxiety and Depression Report
An example of the CORE Anxiety and Depression Report
A Genomind report includes pharmacogenomic gene variations
Reports include pharmacogenomic gene variations
Genomind reports include gene drug interaction summaries
Reports include gene drug interaction summaries

Genomind in the News

In the summer of 2019, the FDA went as far as to enforce that the company remove information about medications in its reports on pharmacogenomic tests. In September, in a partial reversal, it was allowed to restore the medication information to physicians only. 

On October 1, 2019 the largest health insurer in the United States, UnitedHealthcare, began covering genetic tests for psychiatric drugs. As noted in an article published by NPR, this was the first instance of coverage from a major health care provider. The news was met with interest as the FDA as well as many experts do not believe research studies are conclusive enough for the benefits of these tests to outweigh the time and cost. 

The company has continued to grow. In January 2021, it announced that its Professional PGx Express pharmacogenetics test will be covered and reimbursed by Medicare. Later that same year, the company announced partnerships with the audio content and entertainment company, Audacy, Inc., as well as Professional basketball player Kevin Love. Its goal is to end the stigma around mental health and promote its Mental Health MapTM product, which provides customers with a blueprint of their genetic predispositions to various aspects of mental health without a prescription.

Other Genomind Reviews

Product reviews for the Professional PGx EXPRESS are difficult to find since the product is not available without a prescription. However, most comments fall into the following categories:

  • Completely satisfied with the service
  • Results of dubious value and validity
  • Issues with cost, billing, and getting insurance to cover the test

Genomind provides a testimonial on its website of how Dr. Robert Pollack, who treated a veteran with PTSD, was able to service them better. Dr. Pollack uses Genomind to help deliver better clinical outcomes for patients with PTSD and says that they have seen genetic patterns with other diseases, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation.

The Mental Health Map has generally positive reviews from customers leaving comments, but it is a new product, so only a few are available.

  • Reviews on Amazon give the product 4.2 out of 5 stars with 63 reviews
  • Genomind Reviews on Better Business Bureau report issues with cost etc. discussed here (only available in the U.S.)

Nebula Genomics

Genomind’s Mental Health Map offers similar insights available by many commercial genetic testing products. However, the company does not provide customers with the same freedom to download their own data and use it with different services.

For example, Nebula Genomics also allows customers to sequence the genes that could suggest a predisposition to some mental health complications. Additionally, the freedom to take your data to different sequence assessment services makes Nebula worth considering as an alternative to Genomind.

For more details on how your genes are related to various mental health concerns, you can read our blog posts on schizophrenia, depression, and anxiety.

23 and MeGeneSightGenomindNebula Genomics
Sample collectionSalivaCheek swabCheek swabCheek swab
DNA testing methodMicroarray-based genotypingUnknownUnknownWhole Genome Sequencing (30x coverage)
Information availableAncestry, traits, healthGene-drug interactions for a dozen genesGene-drug interactions for a dozen genesRegularly updated reports based on the latest research and data (learn more)
Compatible with other servicesYes (23andMe file format)NoNoYes (FASTQ, BAM, and VCF files)
Cost$99 or $199$330+$399-$4000 / $479-$599$0, $99, $299
Nebula Genomics collection kit

Many services will provide consumers with genetic testing and data access, but Nebula Genomics offers a 30x Whole Genome Sequencing service that sequences 100% of your DNA. The other services compared in the table above use DNA microarray technology to profile your genome, characterizing only a part of it. For example, it is common for microarray sequencing to characterize ~ 500,000 positions, which is less than 0.1% of the whole human genome.  

For more information on genetic sequencing technology, check out our Intro to DNA Testing Methods.

You can read more about antidepressants to treat mental illness in our Lexapro and Zoloft reviews as well as reviews for Genesight and Tempus Labs, similar genetic testing companies for psychotropics. Pathway Genomics also offers a clinical-grade test specifically for psychiatric drugs.

You can read about other clinical genetic testing companies on our blog.

Diagnostics:

  • 24Genetics (includes pharmacogenomics for non-US customers)
  • Ambry Genetics (risks of various disease types)
  • Color (dangers of cancer, genetic forms of heart disease, and medication responses)
  • Fulgent Genetics (comprehensive diagnostic company)
  • GeneDx (wide variety of clinical genomic tests)
  • Oral DNA Labs (specialized diagnostic tool for oral health)
  • Parsley Health (holistic medicine and health plans)

Includes carrier status:

  • Integrated Genetics (pre- and post-pregnancy tests)
  • Invitae (diagnostics, proactive health, and reproductive health)
  • Myriad Genetics (diagnostics, reproductive tests, and precision medicine tests)
  • Sema4 (oncology, women’s health, carrier screening, and hereditary cancer)
  • Veritas Genetics (disease risks and carrier screenings)

Rare diseases:

Tumor genetics for personalized treatment:

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Did you like our Genomind review? You can read more reviews on our blog and check out our complete guide to the best DNA test kit and other home tests.