If you look at all the advancements we’ve made as a species over the past hundreds of years, you may notice that medicine and technology are among the more improved groups, mainly due to how effective both have become.
Medical treatment has progressed to the point where an injury/illness that would result in death 90% of the time is now only deadly in less than 1% of cases, and that’s just if we look at the general image.
However, this couldn’t be possible without clinical trials, which help us determine which medicine works and which doesn’t, and the biggest benefit is that they’re performed on individuals.
Among clinical research, people distinguish between 2 types of clinical research, those being observational studies and clinical trials, with the former being used to monitor groups of people in a certain environment, whereas the latter focuses on the direct effects of the medicine being studied.
What are clinical trials?
Essentially, clinical studies are performed to get a better grasp on how something functions, and they can be for numerous purposes, whether it’s determining the effectiveness of a drug, the symptoms of an illness, or something else.
No matter how you look at it, the clinical trial method has proven itself time and time again to be one of the best ways researchers can obtain information, and it’s mainly due to how adaptable these studies are.
Aside from the aforementioned reasons, clinical trials are also used to locate a disease in a patient’s body while it’s still in its early stages or for improving the quality of life for patients with terminal conditions.
Despite this wide applicability, only a few are actually certified to perform these trials on live human beings, and even then, most of them start their projects in a lab, testing them on animals.
Once the trial is determined to be safe and harmless, it’ll still need approval for it to move onto human testing, which is done by the FDA.
After the FDA has approved the clinical trial, it’s been set on a course to start sometime in the near future, bringing about a new age of understanding of medicine and human anatomy.
The stages of a clinical trial
Every clinical trial goes through a number of phases before a conclusion is reached, which helps filter through any results that may have been obtained accidentally.
In the first phase, the treatment is tested only on a small group of people, which can range anywhere from 20 to 80, and at this point, the researchers will be trying to determine exactly how safe/unsafe the trial could be further down the line.
Later on, the trial enters its 2nd phase, which is only somewhat of a continuation of phase 1, the only real difference being that a far greater number of volunteers is involved.
Seeing that it’s already been proven to be safe, the 2nd phase will instead focus on the treatment’s effectiveness, and because of how important that can be, this phase of the clinical trials can sometimes last for years on end.
In the third phase though, the researchers will try to gather as much information pertaining to the safety and efficacy of the treatment, and the number of participants at this point can be anywhere between 200 to 3k.
If the results are looking promising after phase 3, the tested treatment is sent to the FDA for approval and it’s ready to be shipped out across the world.
Of course, this can apply to just about anything, whether it’s medical equipment or a revolutionary drug.
Finally, the fourth phase begins after the FDA approves the treatment, which then allows it to be tested on a much greater population rather than only a couple of hundred people.
By doing this, the researchers gain even more info on the efficacy and safety of the treatment, albeit with a much wider view of what’s going on.
What’s in it for you?
Of course, no one would want to be involved in a potentially dangerous trial if they weren’t getting anything out of it, and a lot of people turn to this research strategy as a way of dealing with their own health issues.
This is usually done when standard medicine simply can’t do much to help, or when a person wishes to know about the upcoming treatments before they reach the market.
Finally, there are those that simply want to contribute to the overall improvement of medical technology, and regardless of your reason, you must still put your own health in first place.
Without a point of view that focuses on you, you could easily put your life in danger by participating in one of these trials.
Instead, you should choose trials that wish to test a drug for preventing migraines only if you’re dealing with migraines yourself, and if it does work, you’ll have a functioning drug to rely on when things go south.
You may not have seen clinical trials in your area solely due to the fact that you were never looking, and one may just be happening right under your nose.
If you look in the right place, you’ll have a near-infinite resource of information to sift through, where you’ll find clinical trials that may or may not suit your current needs.
Don’t become part of one of these trials if you’re not in perfect health already, as it could take a toll on your body to overwork it when you’re not already feeling 100%.