Why You Should Participate In a Clinical Trial
Many people have the wrong idea about clinical trials and research. Some people have a distrust of drug companies and researchers, some are afraid that their health might suffer. Some people are even dissuaded by their primary care providers because they have a lack of knowledge about it. This has led to a great deal of hesitancy to participate over the years.
In reality, clinical trials are much safer than people think, and are subject to strict regulation and oversight. These trials are conducted by expert medical teams whose priority is patient safety. Often times the care participants receive at a research site is better than a regular doctor's office because they need to pay closer attention to any changes.
Clinical research is at the heart of all medical advances. These studies look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat (maybe even cure) diseases. Treatments that are being tested might be new drugs or new combinations of drugs, surgical procedures or devices, new ways to use existing treatments, or even things like phone apps to help improve quality of life. The goal of a clinical trial is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe.
Clinical studies offer hope for many people and an opportunity to help researchers find better treatments for others in the future. Without research volunteers, we would not be where we are today.
But signing up to be a participant in a clinical study means volunteering your time – and, depending on the study, even bodily fluids. So why should anyone bother?
What do I get out of participating in a clinical study?
1. Early access
One practical benefit to participating in a clinical trial is access to new medical treatments years before they’re broadly available,
2. Better health
Patients who participate in clinical trials also generally have better health outcomes than patients who don’t, even when they’re given placebos.
There is evidence that this is the case, although we do not yet fully understand why...we do know that patients who participate in research do get more attention from healthcare providers and from specialists in the disease that may be affecting them.
3. Ability to influence medicine’s future
Many participants in research studies find great satisfaction just knowing that they’re contributing to the future of medicine.
Many participants have their descendants in mind. People who have a family history of certain diseases and conditions participate in research to help the discovery, diagnosis, and treatment of several diseases. A major reason that family members elect to participate in clinical studies is that it may provide new answers – potentially even cures for their children and grandchildren.
Even for diseases that aren’t genetic, communities surrounding medical conditions can help accelerate discoveries that save lives.
Do researchers in a clinical trial have my best health in mind?
Physicians adhere to the fundamental tenets of the Hippocratic oath, dedicating themselves first and foremost to the patient’s health. Research investigators also are required to disclose any potential conflicts of interest to the patient. This might be, for example, that the researcher is working with or for a study sponsor/Pharmaceutical.
For the vast majority of studies, those conflicts are minimal or nonexistent, and each clinical trial is actively monitored by regulatory figures to make sure that we adhere to a patient-first approach.
What if clinical studies couldn’t find any willing participants?
If no one participates, everything just stops. We can’t move forward technologies or therapies, whether it’s a new device or medication, or a new way to think about how we deliver care or manage patients better.
At cutting-edge medical research centers like Green Mountain Research Institute, patients who participate in research have the opportunity to contribute to efforts that affect more than just the individual patient – that research can influence critical care throughout the world.
If we didn’t have clinical trials, we wouldn’t have new medicines, we wouldn’t have new ways to treat our families, no new medical devices. The real question is: How can we not do clinical research? Participants aren’t just study subjects, they’re collaborators, and they can be advocates. They’re how we can do work that becomes meaningful. Find out if you qualify for a study here or call Green Mountain Research Institute at (802) 855-8368