clinical trials: how dangerous are they?
by Neoteryx | 2 min read
Clinical trials are essential to the advancement of medicine. New drugs and devices are tested on people as the last step before the drug or device becomes available to those who need it.
In double-blind studies, clinical trials are run so that no one knows which medication is being given. If you've enrolled in such an experiment, you might get the test drug or a standard medication or you might get a placebo. Neither the doctor nor you will know what it is until the test is over.
If you get a standard drug for the condition, there is little danger from being in the trial.
If you get the placebo, your condition will be untreated and may get out of control. That is why you have to have frequent checkups with the doctor. If your blood pressure or diabetes is getting worse, the doctor will probably take you out of the experiment and put you back on your regular medicines. Placebos are usually made of starch or sugar and have no side effects or actions.
If you get the experimental drug, there are some possible risks.
- The drug may not work as expected. Myriad factors - from genetics, to lifestyle, to luck - can affect your response to a medication.
- You might experience a side effect of the drug. Every drug can have side effects, even over-the-counter medicines and herbal remedies. Most side effects are minor, such as nausea, diarrhea or drowsiness. But some can be serious. Make sure you understand all possible side effects and be alert for them.
- You may react to the drug with an allergic reaction, such as hives. However, there are several more serious allergic reactions which require emergency medical treatment. Know your own allergy profile and be aware of any possible reactions as they arise.
Your safety is paramount. If you are enrolled in a clinical trial, you will be monitored carefully for these problems and removed from the experiment if you can’t tolerate a drug or present an allergic reaction.
While there are some risks associated with clinical trials, they are relatively minor and rare. More commonly, participants complain of the inconvenience, including frequent trips to the doctor for evaluation and to the laboratory for blood draws.
Today, more and more clinical trials use microsampling for blood collection. Instead of going to the lab and waiting to get stuck several times, you can collect your sample at home. Just a finger-prick and a collection kit and you can mail your sample in. It's more comfortable and more convenient.
Clinical trials are important. Facilitators, researchers, and innovators such as Neoteryx are doing everything they can to make subjects' lives easier and safer.