To many people, the mere thought of participating in a clinical trial might sound scary. However, clinical trials are closely regulated in the UK to make taking part as safe as possible, and UK legislation ensures that all risks are controlled in a manner that is designed to protect volunteers.
What does a typical clinical trial involve?
Generally, you will be required to take part in regular blood tests throughout the trial, so if you are scared of needles it might not be quite your thing. There is a fairly busy schedule on a clinical trial, but there is still plenty of time to relax and meet new people. The clinical research units usually have a lot to offer in terms of recreational activities and you could find yourself playing pool or playing the latest Xbox games. Some research clinics also provide free internet access, and access to a library.
There is no fixed duration that applies to all trials, some trials last for a single day, others last for about a month. Additionally, there are trials where you go about your everyday life and visit the research clinic on regular intervals for staff to take blood and ask you a few questions, and other trials where you are required to stay and the research clinic. Some research clinics will also pay travel expenses of up to £100 for each trip you make to their clinic whilst you are on a trial.
What are the eligibility criteria for participating in a clinical trial?
The criteria differs according to the trial in question. For instance, one trial might require healthy adults within the age group of 18 to 55 while another might call for females within the same age group, or post-menopausal women. In some trials, participants need to be affected by a certain ailment to qualify. For example, an asthma clinical trial or a diabetes clinical trial might require people suffering from these conditions to test how effective a new treatment is.
If you meet the general requirements of a clinical trial, you will be asked to attend an initial appointment where a health check will be carried out to make sure you are not taking any other medications and are in good general health. This is known as a screening visit. If the test results are favourable, you will be eligible to participate in the trial. Remember that participation is entirely voluntary and you can pull out from the trial even after you qualify. Besides these requirements, there are some other minor criteria that must be adhered to. In a many trials, participants are not allowed to smoke, and drinking alcohol is prohibited in almost all trials. If you are participating in a trial related to nutritional studies, there might be other dietary restrictions. Once you take part in a trial, you can’t partake in another one until a period of three months has passed since the last day of your trial. What kind of reimbursement can one expect?
A clinical trial can pay anywhere between £500 and £3000, the payment is directly proportional to the length of the trial. Your travel expenses will also be reimbursed. However, it really isn’t just about the money. By participating in a clinical trial, you are making a huge contribution to the development of new treatments. Without successful clinical trials, it would be impossible to make any significant advances in the field of medical technology.
What are the risks involved?
As with almost any activity, there are some risks involved, but these trials are closely regulated and volunteer safety is the primary concern of those running the trial. Initial dosages are very small, and the dose is only gradually increased throughout the duration of the trial so that if any side effects should occur they are highly controlled and manageable.
- License: Image author owned
- License: Image author owned
By Nick Davison
This post was written by Nick Davison, Nick writes on a number of topics including Health, Psychology, and Medical Development.