Clinical Trials: Information for Potential Participants

As the field of science and technology grows, there are numerous medical solutions which are developed by experts. However, these cannot be accepted and used directly by the public without proper government approval. In order to win this endorsement, the pertinent treatment must be tested and through this, be proven effective and safe. Here are important details on the most critical stage for the approval process, that is, the clinical trial.

What Is a Clinical Trial?

A clinical trial is an experiment usually conducted on human subjects to generate data on medical products. This research is conducted for most medical treatments including drugs, medical devices, supplements, new vaccines and general biomedical products. The information which is obtained through the trial will determine if the pertinent medical approach is feasible and whether it is better than what is already available.

It is important to note that only approximately 10% of the drugs that go through clinical trials are eventually approved for the general public.

clinical-trialsThe Phases of Clinical Trials

There are four phases in a complete clinical trial. In the first step, only a few people participate; small quantities of the drug are taken to determine safety. The second phase tests the efficacy of the drug; usually some participants receive the drug while others get a placebo. If the safety and efficacy is acceptable, the third phase will be the test on a larger group to compare with existing alternatives. If the first three phases are successful, the drug will be approved before the fourth phase, which involves testing of dosing regimens. As a matter of fact, clinical trial approval does not mean that the drug is safe or effective. It merely means that the potential benefit is greater than the risk.

Participant Recruitment

Before you sign up for a clinical trial, you should ensure that the process has been approved by a relevant national health authority. This will protect you from unscrupulous corporations and individuals that conduct the trail unethically.

There are different ways in which you can find a clinical trial for a specific condition. Some trials recruit participants or volunteers through medical professional networks to minimize bias in the population undergoing the experiment. Therefore, you can discuss your options and get assistance from your current physician. You can also locate opportunities for trials through registries and websites which are run by the government or health organizations. Finally, you have the right to understand the details of a clinical trial before consenting to participate.