ADRA2A Genotyping & ADHD Medication

Adrenoceptor Alpha 2A (ADRA2A) is a gene linked to both our central and periphery nervous systems. It affects the receptors connected to these systems. Many studies have shown that variations with individuals ADRA2A genes affect the efficacy of medications like Ritalin® (methylphenidate). Ritalin is commonly used to treat the symptoms of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). A variant of ADRA2A that would affect how an individual reacts to Ritalin, has been found in almost a quarter of the caucasian population.

As mentioned above, Adrenoceptor Alpha 2A is connected to our nervous system. Adrenoceptors regulate how our bodies release neurotransmitters from sympathetic nerves and neurons. Sympathetic nerves and neurons release hormone/neurotransmitter norepinephrine in our central nervous system. ADRA2A is located along the brainstem, midbrain, hypothalamus, hippocampus, spinal cord, cerebral cortex, cerebellum, and septum. Meaning, that throughout our body’s nervous system ADRA2A is functionally regulating how our bodies react to norepinephrine

ADRA2A's Connection to Ritalin® & Focalin®

A variant of ADRA2A will greatly impact how an ADHD patient reacts to their medication. Medications like Ritalin or Focalin® (dexmethylphenidate) increase norepinephrine tone in the prefrontal cortex. If a patient has a genetic variation that affects their ADRA2A receptors this could cause the treatment plan to be ineffective or result in side effects. Because 25% of the cuacasion population in America have a genetic variation, it is recommended that patients and providers consider pharmacogenetic testing before starting treatment or if any adverse reactions or inefficacy present.

Indications for ADRA2A Pharmacogenetic Testing

Patients who have ADHD and are currently taking or starting a prescription with either methylphenidate or dexmethylphenidate (Ritalin or Focalin), may be considered candidates for pharmacogenetic testing. Specifically, patients that are seeing issues with medication efficacy may consider pharmacogenetic testing prior to changing medications or dosage. However, assessment of the medical necessity for pharmacogenetic testing is usually left to the medical provider’s judgement.

Order Pharmacogenetic Testing for ADHD Medications

In the past physicians and patients have used a trial and error method for selecting the right medication to treat medical conditions like ADHD. However, studies into the connection between genetic variations and medication response (pharmacogenetics) can provide doctors and patients a clearer understanding of how a specific patient will interact with medication. TruGenX provides pharmacogenetic testing to licensed medical professionals across the country. Patients that would like to learn more about how pharmacogenetic testing could benefit their treatment can use this resource. To order pharmacogenetic testing please contact our team.