The advancement of medicine in the United States and around the world would be a far cry from what it is today without the use of clinical trials. Testing is perhaps the most important process for medication; it needs to be tested to make sure it’s safe.
There are other reasons in addition to medication testing where clinical trials are useful. They can be conducted to test new or updated equipment, techniques, etc. Medical researchers are interested in the minute details and use clinical trials as a way of gathering information.
Some studies will let just about anyone in perfect health to join. Others require you to have a certain medical condition in order to enroll. This is known as inclusion criteria. There are often several of these eligibility requirements that need to be met before starting.
Additionally, there are often disqualifying conditions known as exclusion criteria. These inclusion and exclusion requirements are put in place for not only to insure integrity of the study, but more importantly to not impose additional or known health risk to the subject.
Women who are pregnant are almost always excluded from clinical trials of drugs for safety reasons. This may even extend to all women of childbearing age or even men who may impregnate a women.
The trial coordinator will make sure you are genuinely eligible before allowing you to enroll. They will also inform you of potential risks and other details specific to the study you are interested in.
Subjects are required to undertake a medical screening to be considered for a medical research trial. Tests vary from trial to trial.
Many clinical trials offer compensation while you are a subject in a research study. This is especially true in Phase I drug trials where the subject is exposed to health risks while not necessarily seeking improvement of a specific condition.
Other trials, usually those regarding specific health problems, don’t pay as much or will only pay a small amount for travel compensation. The reason for this is to make sure that trial seekers are interested in improving whatever problem they have and maintain the integrity of the trial.
Don’t be afraid to ask your the trial coordinator any questions you may have. Also don’t be afraid to express any concern you may have. It’s also a good idea to let your doctors know about any clinical trials you’re thinking about taking part in.