Clinical trials are so important when it comes to research and improving our medical knowledge. A clinical trial compares the effects that a medicine can have on a variety of people, with each trial including certain specifications and requirements. By taking part in a clinical trial, you could be benefiting yourself and others, both now and in the years to come.
Pros and cons
Taking part in a clinical trial comes with risks and rewards. It is important that you feel 100 per cent comfortable with your decision to take part in a trial. You and your doctor will have to weigh up the benefits and the risks for you personally and decide on what is best for you.
There is a chance that the medicine you test is not an improvement but is no worse than the existing treatments out there. You could be one of the first people to benefit from something new, but you may suffer unexpected side effects. When signing up for a trial, you must be fully aware that the outcome could be unexpected.
Some clinical trials offer payment, while others will only cover travel expenses. You must weigh up the inconveniences, as some trials can be very time-consuming and involve overnight stays and frequent check-ups. Others may restrict you from eating or drinking certain items.
How do you take part? There are several ways you can sign up for a clinical trial.
There are organisations that specialise in paid research studies, such as Trials4us. They will provide information about the trials that are currently being run, with clear entry requirements. Paid research studies vary in the amount they pay and often have friendly professionals available for further information.
You can also express interest to your doctor, who will be able to give you further information. Another way you can get involved is through WHO International Clinical Trials, which is a registry platform that specialises in global trials. Lastly, charities such as Cancer Research UK and Parkinson’s UK may have information about clinical trials on their website.
By volunteering to take part in a clinical trial, you could be improving the lives of many people. Whilst this is a huge benefit, you must be comfortable with your decision and have spent time with your doctor weighing up the pros and cons.