What Patients Want to Know About Clinical Trials
What are clinical trials?A clinical trial is a research study in human volunteers to answer specific health questions. Carefully conducted clinical trials are the safest and fastest way to find treatments that work in people, and new ways to improve health.
There are different kinds of clinical trials, including those to study:
- prevention options
- new treatments or new ways to use existing treatments
- new screening and diagnostic techniques
- options for improving the quality of life for people who have serious medical conditions
Why are clinical trials done?Many clinical trials are done to see if a new drug or device is safe and effective for people to use. Clinical trials are also done for other reasons. Some compare existing treatments to determine which is better. The current, approved treatments are called the “standard treatments.” Sometimes clinical trials are used to study different ways to use the standard treatments so they will be more effective, easier to use, and/or decrease side effects. Sometimes, studies are done to learn how to best use the treatment in a different population, such as children, in whom the treatment was not previously tested.
In trials conducted by SERRI, researchers, doctors, and other health professionals administer the clinical trials according to strict rules set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA sets the rules to make sure that people who agree to be in studies are treated as safely as possible.