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Thomas: a patient story

A search for an ADHD treatment without severe side effects leads mother, son to RightMed test

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Thomas is a smart, spirited 10-year-old boy who can solve Rubik’s cubes and puzzles "like it’s no problem."

Despite his quick wits, Thomas has struggled at school. From preschool to 1st grade he would "constantly get in trouble for flipping desks, breaking pencils, and not paying attention," said his mother, Nicole.

Thomas’ parents knew he needed extra help so they had him evaluated by several child psychiatrists. After being assessed, Thomas was diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). He was also switched to a new school where he could get more individualized attention.

At his new school, Thomas still struggled. He was unable to read at grade level and couldn’t pay attention in class. "It caused a great deal of frustration and anxiety for Thomas. We knew we needed more help, so we decided to give medication a try."

"We knew we needed more help, so we decided to give medication a try."

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After Thomas started his first ADHD medication, Nicole quickly learned that finding the right medication for Thomas wasn’t going to be an easy task.

"The first medication we tried caused horrible side effects. He was angry, depressed, and suicidal. He wanted to jump out of the window. We stopped the medication after only a few weeks."

Second grade became so challenging for Thomas that he started attending a therapy school for half of the school day. They also tried a new set of medications — an antidepressant paired with another ADHD medication.

These medications seemed to help for a while, but when Thomas’ behavioral issues persisted, they decided they needed to try another ADHD medication. Soon after he began taking this medication, he started experiencing a new set of side effects.

"On this new ADHD medication, Thomas was so withdrawn. He wouldn’t get out of bed and he didn’t want to play with his friends. He seemed completely sedated."

Seeing their energetic son drained of his spirited personality was disheartening for Nicole and her husband. Frustrated by how difficult it was to find the right medication for Thomas, they started to research other options.

"The medication caused horrible side effects for Thomas. He was angry, depressed, and suicidal. He wanted to jump out of the window."

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During her research, Nicole discovered the OneOme RightMed® test — a medication response test that analyzes a person’s DNA to help predict how they may respond to hundreds of medications. The test covers many of the medications Thomas had experienced side effects from, plus several other options that he could try. The RightMed test held the potential to help identify which medications may work well for Thomas — and which may not.

Nicole knew they had to give the RightMed test a try. After Thomas' psychiatrist ordered the test for him, Nicole helped Thomas collect his DNA sample with a simple cheek swab. Within days of returning Thomas’ sample, Nicole received his test results.

"When we got his results back, many of the medications that Thomas had struggled with were labeled red, which indicates that they may not be the best medications for him. It made so much more sense why Thomas had experienced so many side effects from the medications — his body doesn’t process them normally."

"When we got his results back, it made so much more sense why Thomas had experienced so many side effects from the medications."

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Using information from Thomas’ RightMed test results, his psychiatrist was able to come up with a new medication plan. The psychiatrist prescribed an ADHD medication that they hadn't tried yet that was in Thomas' green category on the RightMed report. When a medication is in the green category, it means that, based on Thomas' DNA, he may be more likely to process the medication at a normal rate, increasing the likelihood that the medication will be effective and not cause side effects at a normal dose.

The psychiatrist also prescribed Thomas a new antidepressant. Thomas' results indicated that he may process this antidepressant faster than normal, so his psychiatrist used this information to guide her decision to prescribe a higher-than-normal dose.

"The RightMed test has been a game changer for our son. After his psychiatrist changed Thomas' medications based on his RightMed test results, he feels so much better. He's happy, he's funny, he’s still got that same spirit we love."

"The RightMed test has been a game changer for our son. After changing his medications based on his RightMed test results, he’s doing so much better."

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Nicole and her husband are glad they were able to give Thomas something that he can use for years to come. Since a person's DNA doesn't change, RightMed test results can be helpful in making future treatment decisions.

"As parents, we believe our job is to set Thomas up for success in adulthood by giving him the tools he needs to live a happy life. Thomas' RightMed test results will be a part of his toolbox. His results will always be on the forefront his treatment needs, whether it's for his ADHD or something else."

When asked what she would say to someone considering the RightMed test, Nicole said, "Everyone should consider having the RightMed test done. Whether you need a cardiology, pain, or psychiatric medication — you have information that may help you get the right medication, at the right dose, and at the right time. I highly recommend the RightMed test."

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