Clinical trials or studies are designed to determine the efficacy (effectiveness), the safety and the suitability of medications or medical devices used to treat or alleviate symptoms from a variety of diseases, illnesses and/or physical impediments. The research conducted on different medications and devices not only relieves patient symptoms but also allows physicians to make appropriate decisions for their patients with (often) many years of research to guide their decision making. In addition to the above, clinical research continues to advance medical knowledge and understanding about the human body, which benefits everyone.
What is a Clinical Trial?
A clinical trial involves research on human volunteers (or participants) which is designed to collect the appropriate clinical evidence of the compound’s or device’s efficacy and safety. When you are prescribed a certain drug, you may wish to review the clinical trial outcomes of that particular compound to learn more about it. Always ask your physician how the drug works, the appropriate fashion in which to consume the drug and if there are any possible side effects.
There are two main categories of clinical trials. The first type is an observational study where clinical trial participants are observed without any changes or modifications to their behaviour. The second type of clinical trial is an interventional study where clinical trial participants may receive different medications or behaviour changes. Here is more information about each type of clinical study.
- Observational Studies: During an observational clinical study, the researchers would review health results of participants using a predetermined protocol. The participants are not told of the precise methodology by the researchers so as to not affect the results. You can view the latest clinical trial observational studies at George Clinical here.
- Interventional Studies: During an interventional clinical study, the participants would get specific interventions in the form of different pharmaceutical products such as drugs or devices. In some cases, various methods would be utilised, or participants will be asked to change their behaviours.
In addition to these two main types of clinical trials, there are other variations of clinical trials including:
- Prevention Trials
- Screening Trials
- Diagnostic Trials
- Quality of Life Trials
- Compassionate Use Trials
- Fixed Trials
- Adaptive Clinical Trials
- Location of Studies Trials
Benefits for Patients
Clinical trials help to play a vital role in maintaining global health. Without clinical trials or research into medications, patients would still be suffering from symptoms, diseases, or illnesses that are now easily cured with medicines. If clinical trials were not used to study medications and their effects continually, no improvements would be made to medications. Research often leads to the discovery of hidden benefits of some drugs. In many instances, a medication that was created for one purpose also provides additional or different benefits.
Benefits for Medical Professionals and Science
Medical science is also significantly improved as a result of clinical trials and clinical research. Of course, the development and discovery of new drugs and medications help to evolve the field of medicine. However, clinical trials also contribute to improving medical science by creating better researchers. Also due to the competitive nature of medical residencies, many medical students participate as clinical research associates in clinical studies to help boost their resume and give them a greater insight into the process of drug discovery and research.