Articles > Medical Issues > Clinical Trials 101: What you need to know (Part 1)

Clinical Trials 101: What you need to know (Part 1)

Published by 4Hope on 2002/10/22 (4493 reads)
Clinical Trials 101: What you need to know (Part One)
Recorded at KEOM studios on October 22, 2002

Dr. G: Today's topic is on research studies and participation in clinical trials. Why should our senior population understand more about research, Barb?

Barb: It seems that every day we hear or read about some breakthrough finding in research on one topic or another, oftentimes contradicting information that was in the news just last year, or month or week! It can be confusing when we hear these sorts of things and we wonder what we can believe and who we can trust. Also, announcements about clinical trials are regularly broadcast in the news, asking for volunteers and participants; oftentimes over the age of 65. It's hard to know which study would best meet our needs with the least amount of risk to our health. Today I'd like to offer some thoughts about clinical research and how the elderly could benefit - or not - from participating in research.

Dr. G: So, what's important to know about research studies?

Barb: Primarily, I think that clinical research studies are important because they allow researchers to study the possible causes of diseases and, therefore, treatments for diseases, as well as who might be at risk for developing the disease. People who volunteer for a research study can feel gratified that they are taking an active role in working towards disease prevention and cure. However, there are questions that need to be addressed before anyone agrees to participate in a research study. The elderly, as well as all paricipants in research, should be thoroughly informed about a study before agreeing to participate in that study.

Dr. G: What questions should the elderly specifically ask about a study?

Barb: Generally, it's important to consider the source; who is the sponsor of the research and who will be implementing the study? Is the sponsor a pharmaceutical company, a research institution or some other related health organization? How reputable is the research source?

Also, it's important that the elderly know right up front what the expected benefits and risks may be from participating in the study.
Also, what are the chances that a participant might experience a negative reaction during the study. Some studies offer compensation for participation while others do not. Individuals should know what's going to be expected of them during the study and what will be the total amount of time for the study. Most research studies offer a statement that answers all of these questions, and more, in a form known as an informed consent. This form tries to ensure that participants understand the why's and wherefore's of the study, as well as explaining confidentiality and how their personal information will be protected. Be sure to ask for clarification on those areas of the informed consent that seem confusing or unclear.

Clinical trials are generally research studies about new medicines, vaccines or therapies to see which are safe and effective for general use. Or, a clinical trial may be looking at using an old medication for a new or slightly different purpose. There are different types and phases of clinical trials. Next month, I'll talk a little more about this and about where to find out more about some of the most recent research that is going on in clinics across our nation.

Dr. G: That sounds great, Barb. I know that if our listeners have any questions about research or clinical trials they can reach you through ElderHope's website and phone - what are those Barb?

Tags: drug   ethics   pharmaceutical   trial   clinical   development   testing   research  

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