How can patients get the most benefits from clinical trials?
Clinical trials are necessary to aid the discovery of new treatments and to show researchers what does and does not work in people. However, there are benefits and risks connected to these trials.
Patients who agree to take part in a clinical trial are gaining access to new treatments that are not available to the general public. While they are under the care of leading health professionals, they are helping other people by taking part in medical research, whilst also playing an active role in their own health care.
The treatment given as part of the trial is not guaranteed to work, and may leave you with unpleasant side effects, which can be serious or life-threatening. There could be a lot of time away from home, as well as travelling to treatment centres, all of which can be a tiring and a costly business.
Experts at various meetings around the world have agreed that they need to make more effort, engaging with patients and supporting them through the process. Quite often, patients with rare diseases are not aware that trials are taking place and are therefore not given the opportunity to see if they would be suitable for such a trial.
Clinical trials cost drug developers millions of pounds, and some are highly successful, and some are not. Some trials, like the TQT studies http://www.richmondpharmacology.com/specialist-services/tqt.php, are combined with bridging studies to design drugs for different populations.
The use of digital technology in clinical trials is a growing force. Digital health devices will aid the collection of data on a daily basis. Also, patients will not have to travel to centres so often, as data can be collected from wearable devices. The future of medicine will be managed through digital technologies, which will reduce dependency on healthcare providers. Also, the enrolment of patients for clinical trials will be controlled by digital devices, with researchers already successfully putting this to the test.
Even if you don’t directly benefit from the results of a clinical trial, the information gathered can help others. The participants of clinical trials are vital to the process of improving medical care and scientific knowledge. Researchers are learning how to engage with these people and make their clinical journey a rewarding experience.