A clinical trial is a research study that looks closely at the effects of a treatment on human volunteers in order to observe the effects of a specific treatment. A carefully conducted clinical trial will be the fastest and safest way to make sure that a treatment works correctly for people, as well as discover ways to improve health.
There are many different types of clinical trials, including those to study options for prevention, new screening techniques, new treatments or other options for improving quality of life for people with medical conditions. Clinical trials can help to determine whether a specific drug is safe and effective for people to use, or to compare existing treatments and determine which treatment is better.
Participating in clinical trials can be rewarding for a number of reasons. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have contributed to the advancement of medical knowledge. Your participation might help to develop a treatment or a cure that will help many people in the future. Joining in with a clinical trial can help to provide you with better treatments than you would otherwise have, as well as receiving compensation for your time too. It is possible to find clinical research trials in your area by contacting a company such as MAC Clinical Research Trials.
Before you decide to participate in a clinical trial, here are a few tips that you should keep in mind:
- Make sure that you speak to your doctor before deciding to participate in a clinical trial. Your own physician knows you and your health condition well and they will be able to determine whether or not a clinical trial is right for you.
- Use a website such as researchforyou.co.uk to find clinical trials in your area that you might be eligible for.
- Make sure that you understand your own motivation for taking part in the trial, whether it is financial, wanting to help others or hoping that the treatment will work for you. There are many reasons to participate, so understanding your own reasons will help you to understand whether a particular trial is a smart match for you.
- Keep in mind that no trial is completely risk free. Make sure that you read all of the fine print on the consent form and that you are comfortable with the potential risks of participating in the trial.
- Take the time to understand the goals of the researchers. They are not necessarily trying to make you better, as a doctor would; they are trying to conduct a medical experiment. Keep this in mind when you are agreeing to tests and procedures.
- Understand how participating in the trial will alter your health care. Will you receive the same treatment as you would otherwise get for the same health problem?
- Consider both the potential benefits and the risks. On one hand, you might be subjecting yourself to negative side effects from the treatment you are testing. On the other hand, you might discover that the treatment in the trial has a beneficial effect on your health.
- An experimental treatment that is provided as part of a trial should always be free, so you should not have to pay anything for participating in the experiment. In most cases, you might even be compensated for your time.
- Watch out for conflicts of interest, such as when the researcher holds a patent on the experimental drug or stock in the company that manufactures it. This can affect the integrity of the study.
- Get a second opinion from an independent medical professional, especially if the doctor who recommends you to the study is involved with it.
- Make sure that you ask your doctor and the researchers a lot of questions. Find out how the trial is funded, how long it will last, how much time is needed, where the tests are located, etc.
- Consider whether you will need to take time off work or other responsibilities to participate in the trial. Sometimes medical trials will involve you staying at the medical facility for observation for many days. Knowing this will help you to plan ahead for that time and make arrangements concerning your other responsibilities.
These are just a few important tips to consider when you are participating in a clinical trial. Taking part in one of these trials can be very advantageous, so make sure that you are well informed, ask the right questions and find the very best trial for your particular needs.