Clinical trials are conducted on every FDA approved treatment, medication, and therapy. These trials ensure the safety and effectiveness of every study drug, device, and diagnostic tools that are currently available. Human volunteers participating in clinical research make these new options possible. As beautiful as these medical advancements sound, there is still a lot of hesitation about participating in clinical trials. The reluctance is primarily due to false myths. Let’s look at some of the myths that make our work in the trial industry much harder.
You’re a Human Guinea Pig
The concept of testing the safety and effectiveness of a medication or device on humans can be a scary thought. However, clinical trials are strictly regulated by the FDA. Also, new interventions have had every possible lab test performed on them before humans are ever involved. Guinea pig is a crude term, but honestly, the only way to see how a therapy interacts with the human body is to give it to a human under well monitored and safe conditions. Remember, clinical trials are entirely voluntary, so you can choose not to participate at all, or stop your participation once enrolled at any time.
It Takes Too Long
Clinical trials can range in visits, so it depends on the specific trial. Some are just one visit, and others such as Alzheimer’s studies can last over a year. Some of these “visits” may also be telephone calls to check in versus coming into the site. Typically, an initial phone screening is done, then you may be brought in for another visit to complete the screening process in which other tests can be done, such as blood draws, or imaging, depending on the study. All timelines are given upfront so you can make an informed decision about participating.
You’ll Receive a Placebo
Not all trials use placebos. Those that involve progressive or life-threatening conditions do not use placebos, for example. Some compare the investigational drug to an already available equivalent. Others, like pain studies, offer a rescue drug if the participant isn’t receiving effective pain relief. The treatment being evaluated needs to be more effective than the placebo for it to be considered valid. Placebos also help evaluate the side effects of medications, so even if you are given a placebo, you are still supporting the advancement of medical research.
Participating in clinical research is a personal decision that you should take the time to research and talk with your doctor about to see if it is right for you. Not all trials involve medications or devices, so if that isn’t your thing, that is ok. To learn more about the opportunities enrolling in your area, click here to search by your zip code.