Scientists and pharmaceutical companies have been able to treat and cure thousands of previously lethal diseases with modern medicine. All of these treatments and drugs have undergone clinical research to be sure that they are safe and effective. Participating in a research study is an excellent way to help others and to try new treatments for existing conditions. However, studies cannot promise medical cures, and they may come with certain risks. Here are three things to know before you sign on to a research study.
Know what the Different Phases Mean
Clinical or drug trials go through four key phases. Phase 1 drug trials test whether treatment is safe for human use, while a phase 2 clinical trial tests whether the drug or method actually treats the condition. Phases 3 and 4 test large scale safety and effectiveness. While you may be eager to find a new treatment option for a preexisting condition, know that not all clinical trials will necessarily be looking for effectiveness.
Results May Vary
Clinical research is just that: research. Scientists are looking for ways to treat or cure certain conditions. While you may feel that you have nothing to lose by trying Alzheimers research studies or diabetes clinical trials, it’s important to keep in mind that your condition may not improve. The overall probability of success for a research trial is about 21%. For oncology studies, the probability of success is just 3%. Participating in clinical research is a great way to try a new treatment and to be part of a study that can help thousands of people. In some cases, it can also be a great way to make a little extra money. However, participants should be aware that participation will not guarantee a cure.
Give Informed Consent
All participants should be screened at the beginning of the study to ensure that they are aware of the risks and potential benefits of participation in the study. Some clinical research studies can last several years, so it’s important to ask how test drugs or methods will work with your current treatment plan. You should also be aware of any additional followup that may be necessary after the trial is over.
Always do your research and know what you are signing on for when you participate in a clinical research study. Be sure that you talk to your physician and the researchers to be sure that the new treatment will not interfere with your current care plan.