Why are Clinical Trials Important?

Why are Clinical Trials Important?

When it comes to the advancement of knowledge of medical treatments and providing effective care, clinical trials serve a valuable purpose. Hundreds of thousands of clinical trials may be registered at any given time in every state and in numerous countries around the globe. Such impressive numbers go to show just how important clinical trials must be, but why are clinical trials important?

In truth, clinical trials are perhaps some of the most valuable core components of modern-day medicine. Treatments that once had to be established through trial and error on small numbers of patients are now thoroughly analyzed through formal, controlled studies that provide valuable information. Here is a breakdown of some of the reasons these medical research efforts are exceptionally important to the health and medical field.

Clinical trials make valuable new treatments a possibility.

Numerous illnesses plague the human population, and many can have terminal outcomes or severely impact quality of life. From various types of cancer to severe allergies, researchers are consistently looking to improve the treatments available for these conditions. Clinical trials for specific illnesses and diseases are always ongoing, whether the trials involve treatments to prevent certain diseases or treatments to deter the symptoms or progression of certain diseases. Alzheimer's disease, for instance, is one type of disease that has consistently been studied via clinical trials.

Currently, the primary form of treatment involves taking medications to prevent some of the symptoms associated with Alzheimer's disease. The hope is that eventually, research will yield insight into how to better detect risks of the disease early on or even ways to prevent the illness completely.

Clinical trials offer a certain degree of quality improvement for "off-label" medications.

"Off-label" uses of a medication refer to prescribing a medicine to treat an illness that the drug was not originally intended to treat. For example, a drug known as Prazosin is normally prescribed for hypertension, but doctors may use it "off label" to suppress nightmares. While physicians may commonly prescribe a certain medication for an off-label use because they have good results with prior patients and that medication in the past, ongoing efforts must be made to formally test it for that particular use to eliminate physician bias. Clinical trials are designed to eliminate the physician's bias by eradicating any level of opinionated bias from a treatment experience. Therefore, the end results from a clinical trial are far more reliable. Through these unbiased research efforts, we gain a more accurate insight into using a drug as a treatment for a particular condition moving forward. This is just one of the many reasons why clinical trials are important for determining effectiveness and safety of medicine.

Clinical trials test the efficacy of treatments compared to safety profiles.

One of the biggest reasons clinical trials are performed on existing drugs is to determine how that particular medication measures up when you look at the side effects (or safety profile) compared to the effectiveness or benefits of treatment. Any potential prescription medication on the market today has likely been studied through clinical trials. In fact, most must undergo a certain level of testing before they can be approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For example, a blood pressure medication may be researched to determine what side effects study participants experience and to what degree the medication helped to stabilize or lower blood pressure levels. Through this insightful research, medical professionals are better able to gauge what treatments will be the most beneficial for their patients. Furthermore, doctors have information available so they can properly advise patients on which side effects to potentially expect with various forms of treatment.

Clinical trials make wide testing a possibility for specific treatments.

If one doctor suspects a certain type of treatment will benefit their patients, they would only be able to examine the results of a small number of patients. Clinical trials make it possible to recruit a large number of patients across many medical providers to gather a more comprehensive sample of the effectiveness of a particular treatment. For example, data gathered a certain form of cancer treatment would be more valuable if 1,000 participants were involved in a trial instead of the 20 or 30 one doctor may be able to treat.

Clinical trials help improve medical care for everyone at a faster rate.

Numerous large-scale trials have led to some of the most effective and noteworthy forms of treatment we have access to today. Patients have more confidence in the medical treatments offered today purely because they have been carefully analyzed before being recommended. Vaccines for diseases like polio, which involved 600,000 study participants, have been established through massive clinical trials. Without the trials that were performed, fewer people would have been willing to have their children vaccinated because the outcomes could have been more up for question. Yet, today, polio is almost completely eradicated thanks largely in part to the large-scale studies that have been performed.

Final Thoughts: Why Are Clinical Trials Important?

With medical advancements consistently taking place, clinical trials are bound to retain a stronghold as the foundation of new treatments. ClinicalConnection helps connect participants with clinical research trials in their area. If you are interested in learning more about participating in clinical trials, create a free membership with us, and be notified when clinical trials become available in your area.