The Basics of Clinical Trials

You’ve likely heard of clinical trials, especially when it comes to research about new drugs or medical treatments. Clinical trials are an extremely valuable part of determining how new medications or therapies affect people on a large scale. There can be a lot of misinformation about clinical trials and their purpose, however. If you’re considering entering a clinical trial or want to know more, then here’s a quick guide to clinical trials and what they include.

What is a clinical trial?

A clinical trial is a scientific research study conducted on a group of people. These people are usually volunteers who fit a specific category. Clinical trials usually follow a protocol, or a plan which outlines factors like:

  • The study’s length
  • The study’s goal
  • Medications and dosages used
  • The schedule of procedures, tests, and check-ins
  • The types of patients involved

This protocol is also an agreement between the patients and the scientists to follow strict rules set by the FDA and conduct the trial in an ethical, safe manner.

What’s the goal of clinical trials?

Clinical trials typically have the goal of finding answers to specific health questions that scientists might have about a new drug, therapy, or treatment. They can also be utilized to re-test standard treatments and medications currently used in medicine or to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of certain medications or therapies that are considered standard treatment. Finally, clinical trials can be used to test treatments on new demographics that were previously not included in clinical trials. When clinical trials are conducted safely, effectively, and ethically, they can be a very fast and efficient way to get new therapies in widespread use by doctors and practices.

Are clinical trials safe?

Clinical trials are very safe because they are overseen and protected by the FDA. The FDA places strict guidelines on how clinical trials can be conducted, ways in which they must preserve patient safety, and how researchers must protect patients from unreasonable risks. However, clinical trials are not without risks altogether. If you join a clinical trial, you’ll meet with your clinical team to learn more about the specific risks and what will be done about them. In fact, the FDA requires that you be given detailed and up-to-date information about what might happen during the trial. If you feel unsafe during a clinical trial, you may leave it at any time.

Why do people join clinical trials?

There are many different reasons that people join clinical trials – they may be experiencing chronic illness and want to help find a cure (or they have close friends or family members who do). They may also simply be dedicated to helping further medical research. Some people join clinical trials because they fit rare and specific criteria needed in clinical trials. And finally, some people simply enjoy the incentives that comes with joining a clinical trial. Your reasons for joining a clinical trial are your own, and it can be helpful to meet with our expert researchers to learn more about your options.

Schedule an Appointment

At Altus Research, we are a privately-owned clinical research site with experience in a variety of different medical fields and testing phases. To learn more about our enrollment options and learn if clinical trialing is right for you, contact our Lake Worth, FL office by calling or filling out our online contact form.

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