Clinical trials are a great way to discover new treatments and remedies for certain illnesses or to test certain drugs. They may be available to both healthy and ill individuals, with the ill taking experimental treatments to advance our knowledge of their condition.
With the healthy, a drug or a course of treatment is verified as safe for the human body and the trial aims to discover side effects. Sleep studies, for example, are a form of study that uses healthy and (otherwise healthy) insomniacs to draw data about sleep remedies.
Along with moving science forward, clinical trial participants are often paid for their time, though it can also be done on a purely voluntary basis. To find more information about clinical trials and studies taking place, find some on Power.
Let’s start with the advantages that come with participating in a clinical trial. First, assuming you have an illness or condition, a clinical trial opens up more treatments for you. While they may have more drastic side effects, they can be very beneficial and get past any red tape that may limit which treatments you’d usually get.
Along with helping yourself, you are helping the cause of science and everybody in the future who could be treated with the discoveries you make.
You’ll also get regular and extensive check-ups in some trials. This is great for those who want to have their physical health rigorously maintained, increasing the chances that other diseases and ailments may be found. Of course, this could be a downside if you’re nervous about appointments or have hypochondriac tendencies.
There’s not much to worry about in terms of side effects – most aren’t problematic. If there was a real problem, it should have come up during phase 1 and 2 trials on microbes and small animals
Lastly, as we said, some trials will pay for you to become their guinea pig for a month or two. Trials can last anywhere between a few weeks to a few months, depending on the scope and intensity of the trial.
The biggest disadvantage that comes with a clinical trial is the side effects. Of course, any and all treatments can have unexpected side effects, but with clinical trials, they can be harsher, more painful, and/or more disruptive to your day-to-day life.
Before clinical trials start, the research team will have some idea of what to expect through deduction and other things they learned through phase 2. As we said above, a lot of laboratory work has gone into the treatment before the trial, so the side effects shouldn’t be too bad. You’ll be given a list of possible side effects before you make your decision to participate in the trial or not.
As for the other drawbacks, you’ll need to sign a waiver and other paperwork that can get tedious. If you’re easily bored or just hate bureaucracy, the verification and recruitment process may get on your nerves.
Your trial may require invasive tests and scans that aren’t so pleasant. Sure, you may get a full check-up, but some may not enjoy taking blood tests if they have a needle phobia or similar issues. It depends on your preferences and expectations when getting a check-up. Your check-ups will also become more time-consuming.
Depending on the clinical trial plan, extra appointments may cost you more money too. This is especially the case if a lot of traveling is involved, where you need to pay for fuel, parking, or transport fares.
Fortunately, all of the above information will be communicated to you before you start the trial. It should also be included in any waivers or contracts that you’ll put your name on, so make sure you read any literature that’s given to you by doctors and medical researchers.
Those are the main pros and cons that are associated with clinical trial participation. While we can give you general advice, know that every trial is slightly different and the standards for trials vary between countries and even states within the USA.
When looking at a trial, you should communicate with the people running the trial. They know more about what you’ll go through than we can, so they can set the record straight and set realistic expectations for your trial.
Take time to understand what you’re getting into and make sure that you are in good health when entering. Even for trials aimed at certain illnesses and conditions, make sure that you’re otherwise healthy.