Clinical trials are an essential part of any drug research activity. They are required to judge the efficacy of the drugs, and are deemed mandatory as per law. Clinical trials are done in a very controlled environment over a fixed period of time to evaluate the drug and check the side-effects is causes, if any, on the patients.
Drugs have become an integral part of mankind. Almost every individual on this planet would have been subjected to some sort of medication or drug at least once in his or her lifetime. Though nature has several medical cures to offer, they have never managed to match the efficiency of man-made solutions for medical or health problems. There are many drugs that are intended to treat ailments that mainly affect people aged 55 and over. These drugs are used to treat a variety of diseases, but since they are mainly used to treat people aged 55 and over, it is essential that the trials are conducted on volunteers of the same age group. By volunteering to be a part of a clinical trial, participants help medical science progress in their quest to find or improve treatments for mankind. The guidelines for choosing the volunteers are clearly stated, and all the clinical trial companies and hospitals have to work within these rules.
Who can take part in a clinical trial?
Every clinical trial has specific requirements based on age, gender, medical history, physical health. There may be other specifications based on the particular disease that is being treated. The volunteers are chosen based upon these criteria, and the factors which disallow the volunteers are known as ‘exclusion criteria.’ Sometimes, the trials are conducted on healthy volunteers; in other scenarios, they are conducted on people who have a history of a particular disease.
What happens after they are short listed?
There are many tests that are conducted on the volunteers before they finally become a part of the trials. They should not have been a part of any other clinical trial, for at least three months prior to the test. They must be clear about the risks involved, and their health should permit them to be part of the trial.
How is the trial conducted?
The participants are assigned to a particular study group, and they are given the drug or a placebo; their progress is closely monitored. Often, the researchers themselves do not know as to which participant is being administered a placebo and which one is getting the actual medicine. The research staff and the doctors carefully watch the progress and evaluate the effects of the medicine on each person.
FAQ’s for Participants
It is imperative that volunteers are familiar will all details regarding the trial. They should know how long it will last; whether they have to stay there while the trial is going; if the trial is being conducted in a centre, how often do they need to travel to that place; whether they can continue with all their previous medicines; the risks and the benefits of the trials; can they stop being a part of the trial while it is still going on, etc. All these questions should be answered before the trial begins.
All volunteers receive a certain amount of monetary compensation for taking part in the trial. The amount paid is based upon the length of the trial, and on whether or not the volunteer has to stay at the research centre. Transport expenses may also be reclaimable. The amount paid is generally around £100 per day, with the actual payment made being calculated based upon the length of time committed to taking part.
This post was written by Nick Davison, Nick writes about a wide range of health related subjects including Psychology and Medical Studies.