You may have heard about clinical trials and not had a clear picture of what they are, what they do, and who can participate in these clinical trials. Although clinicals can be conducted for certain types of equipment, most clinical trials are conducted to test new medications or drugs for specific illnesses or conditions. Clinical trials are also referred to as clinical research.
You need to understand that the medications or treatments used in trials have not been proven to work, or even proven to be safe. This is very different than going to your doctor and getting a prescription for a medication that has been tested and found to be safe and effective. It is vital that you are clear on this point. Fortunately, most drugs used in clinicals have already undergone extensive testing – but not on humans. Animal testing is normally done, and some testing may have been conducted on a very small number of human volunteers.
In order to be eligible for clinicals, you will need to have a specific illness or condition. For some trials, it may be important that you have had no treatment at all for the condition at this point, or that you have been treated with a specific medication up to this point. You don’t even have to have a medical condition for some trials, as some medications are tested on healthy people. Some trials are discriminatory – because they have to be. This means that participants may be selected based on age, sex, race, occupation, or other identifying factors.
Most trials are done on a volunteer basis, and no payment is offered. However, in many clinicals, the cost of the medication that is being used for the trial is usually covered. It is vital that you understand that in some clinical trials, a placebo is used along with the medication being tested. This means that you could be receiving no treatment at all, even though you think you are.
In order to find out about available clinical trials for your condition, you can talk to your doctor. You can also find information in your local newspaper if you live in or near a large city. Do not volunteer for a trial without discussing it with your doctor first. Also, realize that just because you volunteer for a clinical trial, this is no indication that you will be selected for the trial, even if you meet all of the eligibility requirements.
At Palm Beach Research we have many different clinical trials available that you can participate in. You can see our current studies on our website at anytime. You will have to pre-qualify to join a study. Trial participants are compensated for their time and travel.