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Common Misconceptions About Clinical Trials

March 17, 2023
Common Misconceptions About Clinical Trials
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Clinical trials are research studies being performed to develop new treatments and identify the best treatment. Such trials often help change and shape the landscape of medical science. Although clinical trials are performed under strict supervision, many people are still hesitant to participate because they don’t fully understand the process or may have a few misconceptions.

Are you curious about clinical trials but unsure about what they entail? In this blog, we will explore some common myths and misconceptions about clinical research trials. Discover the truth about clinical trials and learn why they are an important tool for advancing medical research.

Myth: Clinical trials are only for people who are terminally ill.

While some clinical trials focus on terminally ill patients, many studies also want healthy volunteers. This helps researchers collect data that can be used to compare with those who have a specific disease or condition. Healthy volunteers can also help researchers learn more about diseases.

Myth: Clinical trials are only available in large cities.

In addition to large cities with major hospitals and academic research facilities, regional hospitals and smaller clinics also run clinical trials. Some clinical trials offer compensation for patients who are traveling from farther distances to participate, particularly for patients participating in rare disease clinical trials.

One upshot of the COVID-19 pandemic is that many clinical trials have incorporated virtual elements into their research plans. There is an increasing number of virtual (or partially virtual) clinical trials that allow participants to attend doctor's visits over a webcam or through an app and get blood drawn by a mobile phlebotomist.

Myth: Clinical trial participants will be given a "sugar pill" instead of an actual treatment.

Placebos can help researchers learn whether the new medication works better than the standard treatment. Some studies use a placebo—which can come in the form of an injection, liquid, pill, or procedure. Placebos look like clinical trial treatment but don't affect the illness. The consent form will always say whether a placebo will be used during the clinical trial.

To reduce bias in a study, the patients—and sometimes the research staff—are not told which patients receive a placebo.

Some studies will offer patients who received the placebo a chance to receive the study drug during a future clinical trial. If this is an option, it will also be on the informed consent form.

Myth: Clinical trials expose you to hidden risks.

Just as with any medication or other intervention, there are always possible side effects. However, anyone in a clinical trial will be informed of the potential risks and benefits before the trial begins so that they can consider them when deciding whether or not to volunteer for the clinical trial. Also, the trial is reviewed ahead of time to ensure that both the benefits and risks are considered and that there is no unnecessary harm or discomfort.

Common Misconceptions About Clinical Trials

Myth: Clinical trials are only for people who are in perfect health.

Many different types of people participate in clinical trials. Some studies include healthy volunteers, while other studies include patient volunteers. Some clinical studies include both healthy and patient volunteers. In fact, clinical trials often deliberately seek out diverse participants to better test the efficacy of a treatment. This includes studies specific to certain populations, such as children or older adults. The eligibility criteria determine who can participate in a clinical trial.

A clinical trial protocol describes who is eligible to participate in the research. Each study must include only those who meet the requirements for that study. These are the study's eligibility criteria.

The eligibility criteria are different for every trial. They include whether you are a healthy or patient volunteer. They also include determining factors such as your age, sex, the type and stage of disease, whether you have had certain treatments, and other health problems.

The eligibility criteria ensure that new approaches are tested on similar groups of people. This makes it clear to whom the clinical trial results apply. Eligibility criteria are not intended to reject people personally. Instead, the criteria are there to identify appropriate participants, keep them safe, and help make sure that researchers can find the new information they need.

Myth: Clinical trial participants are not compensated for their time and effort.

Compensating participants in clinical studies is a common practice. However, its proximity to ethical concerns of coercion, undue influence, and exploitation demand that participant compensation is regulated.

Compensating human subjects for clinical trial participation is important but can also act as a barrier to voluntary participation and good research efforts. Deliberate measures need to be implemented to ensure fair compensation of research participants, avoid exploitation, and level the field for locally funded research.

Myth: Clinical trials may ignore ethics.

Many patients are concerned that if they join a clinical trial, they won't be treated with respect as a patient and will be treated like guinea pigs — just as the subject in a trial of an untested medication or device.

You may be hesitant to participate in a clinical trial thinking you might be treated as a set of symptoms upon which to test an investigational treatment rather than as a human being with a medical need. Or, you might worry that you will be given completely untested drugs without fully understanding the clinical trial or providing consent. In fact, strict guidelines are in place to ensure that you and all other clinical trial volunteers are treated fairly and ethically.

Before the investigational drugs can be given to people who volunteer to participate in clinical trials, scientists must complete a rigorous screening and preclinical testing process, which can take up to 6 years to complete. Additionally, every clinical trial involves a thorough informed consent process to help you understand your rights as a participant, including the right to leave the trial at any time if you change your mind about wanting to participate.

Myth: Clinical trials are not regulated by the government.

Clinical studies in the United States are regulated by a government agency called the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Each study is reviewed, approved, and watched over by an independent panel of qualified study doctors, research team, and members of the community called an Institutional Review Board (IRB). This review board ensures your rights, safety, and welfare are protected and that the study is done for honest and ethical reasons. It also ensures that the health risks are reasonable compared to the potential benefits.

Remember, no treatment is completely safe for everyone; however, a clinical research trial helps ensure the benefits outweigh the possible risks for most people.

Myth: Clinical trials are not important for advancing medical research.

Clinical trials can give patients access to the latest medicines and procedures and contribute to medical knowledge. Studies show that patients who participate in clinical research trials have outcomes at least as good, if not better than, the general patient population.

In some cases, clinical trials are a last resort — there are no other treatments or interventions available. Nevertheless, trials often involve an addition or adjustment to an existing treatment plan that may provide patients with a better quality of life.

Clinical trials may be available for patients at every stage of their disease, including newly diagnosed patients and those who have exhausted some or all of the available treatment options. Before making any decisions about your treatment options, you must talk to your doctor.

Contact Santos Research Center, Corp.

Participating in a clinical trial helps in discovering the medicines of the future.

If you are interested in Paid Medical Trials at Santos Research Center, Corp., please contact us at (813) 249-9100 or visit us at 5927 Webb Rd Tampa FL 33615.

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Santos Research Center, Corp. is a research facility conducting paid clinical trials, in partnership with major pharmaceutical companies & CROs. We work with patients from across the Tampa Bay area.

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