Clinical trials, by definition, are a type of medical study involving a large number of people that are willing to test new treatment methods. Most, but not all medical studies, are clinical trials.
Clinical studies aim to find out some of the important medical information in response to the health queries in a very systematic and organized way. A well designed study provides reliable evidence that can help to determine treatments and services as well as the medical understanding of the health professionals.
In order to be reliable, clinical trials require obtaining health information and data from a wide range of people who have been facing health issues that fit into the topic of studies. If the patient approves and gives his/her consent to participate as a volunteer than this data can be obtained by:
- Testing on patient in clinical settings.
- Measuring of effects of drugs on patient.
- Using patient records.
- A combination of the above.
How to participate in a clinical trial?
Anyone, who has ever been interested in being a part of clinical trial, the first step is to find what clinical trials are available in your disease, and then steps involved in the trial. It is better to seek information from a number of sources.
Ample information is available online on general clinical trials as to why a person might want to be a part of it, the ethics, the regulations of trials in each country and how you can find a trial that is relevant to your disease.
Whom to talk to?
You can discuss clinical trials with any of the allied health professionals (AHP) involved with your care whether he or she is a, general practitioner (GPs), a specialist, or a nurse. AHPs are able to provide general information and also suggest the relevant and specific clinical trials to you.
Support groups and Consumer Health Organizations having an interest in the particular disease state from which you suffer can also provide the information and contact details as well.
Who Can Join?
Every single clinical trial has its own protocol and study plan that describes what will be done during these trials, how they will be conducted, why being a part of each of these trials is necessary and other pertinent details. The protocols also include the guidelines on who can or cannot take a part in such trials. They are known as Eligibility Criteria.
Common eligibility criteria include:
- Suffering or having certain disease or problem.
- Having or not having received a therapy in past.
- Certain age group.
- A medical history record.
- Current health status.
Criteria like this necessary in order to reduce the variability among people who are a part of the trials. When people are taking part in trials like this, researchers can be more certain that the trial results are due to the treatments tested and not due to other factors. If you are interested in volunteering for a clinical trial, you will get a complete physical to ensure that you are fit for participation.