Clinical Trials: Benefits, Risks, and Safety

Clinical trials are an essential part of medical research because new treatments and medical devices need to be proven safe and effective before being released for public use. Research begins in a closed study in a laboratory to test various protocols of new devices and therapies. The most promising substances or procedures are singled out for a clinical trial where they can be administered to a test group receiving the new treatment compared to a control group receiving the currently preferred treatment or a placebo.

Benefits of Clinical Trials

Participating in a clinical trial may have the benefit of allowing you to use an effective new treatment before it is available for public use. This is not guaranteed, but joining trials aimed at solving a condition you suffer from is a way to be proactive in your own medical care.

Another benefit of volunteering for a medical clinical study is the knowledge that you have contributed to furthering medical knowledge and may be responsible for helping countless other people receive a more effective treatment, which may save or improve the quality of their lives.

During a trial with Altus Research, you will receive frequent follow-up and the research panel can coordinate with your primary care physician to optimize your experience. Follow-up may include periodic check-ins, information about support groups, and other helpful resources.

Risks of Clinical Trials

One downside of participating in a clinical trial involves the time required to travel to and from the trial location. Actual study time can range from very short to quite extensive depending on the nature of the study. Inpatient hospital stays may be required for some studies. Travel time must be considered if you need to return for multiple visits.

Other possible risks include:

  • There may be some discomfort or side effects associated with the specific treatment while participating in the study
  • The treatment may prove ineffective or no better than the traditional treatment
  • You may be in the control group and not receive the new treatment; this may not be known until the study ends

Safety Measures For Clinical Trials

In the past, some clinical trials have been poorly supervised and some harmful things were done to clinical study participants. This has changed in modern history, largely owing to three kinds of protections that make it possible to volunteer for a clinical trial confidently.

Congressional Legislation

Laws were passed in Congress in 1974 to safeguard clinical trial participants. Clinical investigators have to follow rigid rules including a strict protocol that describes exactly what the study will do. The Head Researcher is responsible for overseeing and enforcing the protocol exactly.

Institutional Review Board

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) consists of scientists, doctors, and community members who approve each clinical test to be performed and follow up each step of the way to make sure protocol is being followed. This keeps the risk of harm to participants to a minimum. A Data and Safety Monitoring Committee further monitors each study in progress and stops any study that is noncompliant.

Informed Consent Process

Every participant is given an informed consent form and is provided information about every aspect of the study, how it will be done, and what to expect in each phase of the study. After the consent form is signed, the participant can still opt out at any time without any ill effects to their further medical care. All patient information will be kept private.

Join a Medical Research Trial

If you’re interested in advancing medical knowledge through your participation in medical research, Altus Research has opportunities for you. Our highly trained and experienced team ensures all our trial participants are protected through our ethical, regulatory, and industry standards screening process. To find out if you’re a good candidate for one of our current trials, take our quiz or contact us online today.

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