In a survey of U.S. adults, almost half agreed that clinical trials should be part of the standard medical care in America, and 37% of the same group said they would participate in a medical study if asked.
So, why are clinical trials so important? Why should you participate in one?
Clinical trials - the facts
Clinical trials are research studies most often used to evaluate a new medicine or treatment. These studies are the main way that researchers can find out if new medical treatments or drugs are safe and effective.
Other reasons researchers use clinical trials include:
- Testing new ways to find a disease early
- Discovering how to prevent a health problem
- Making life better for people living with a certain disease or medical condition
How do clinical trials work?
After initial research is done in the lab, researchers then test a new drug or treatment on a small group of people. Every patient in a clinical trial is watched closely to make sure that the drug or treatment is not too strong and that it doesn’t cause severe side effects.
If the drug passes clinical trials, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will have to approve it before the new medicine can be deemed safe for public use. The drug will be tested in hundreds or even thousands of patients. This allows researchers to see the long-term effects of the medicine or treatment in many different people.
Each year, the FDA approves new drugs that give novel treatment options for life-threatening diseases and medical conditions. New drugs have been approved to help with conditions such as:
- Acute migraines
- Esophageal cancer
- Urinary tract infections
- Bacterial pneumonia
- Gastrointestinal complications in newborns
Without clinical trials, these drugs may never have been available to the public.
Should I participate in a clinical study?
Without clinical trials, innovative drugs and treatments wouldn’t be available to people who need new treatment options.
If you choose to participate in a clinical trial, there are many benefits you could receive:
- Access to promising new approaches not available outside of the clinical trial setting
- Receiving regular and careful medical attention from a medical research team
- Being the first to benefit from the new treatment under the study.
Additionally, you can help others who may be suffering from a chronic illness or disease by testing new drugs and treatments. By participating in clinical trials, you can give hope and improve the quality of life for many people.
University Health System has served as a clinical research site since 1968, and through its research has improved the delivery of healthcare and the quality of life for many. If you are interested in participating in a clinical study, call 210-743-6450.