What are clinical trials and why do we need them?
Clinical trials are research studies involving people. They test whether particular treatments are safe and how well they work.
We need to know:
- Does a treatment work?
- Does it work better than other treatments?
- Does it have any side effects?
Clinical trials are designed to answer these questions and improve health and quality of life for patients. Until well-designed trials have been carried out, we simply do not have enough evidence to know if a treatment is both effective and safe. Without trials, there is a risk that people will be given treatments which do not work and which may even be harmful. The Vascular Experts experienced team of Board-certified vascular surgeons have compiled years of clinical experience. Each physician continues to advance their knowledge through ongoing medical education and by working with Clinical Trials.
Five Reasons Why Clinical Trials Are Important
THE RESULTS CAN AFFECT MANY MORE PATIENTS
This is one of the main reasons for research in the first place. A doctor taking care of patients can see maybe 20 patients in a day. But if we conduct a clinical trial and ultimately bring a new treatment to market, we can potentially impact thousands or even millions of lives. Similarly, when you participate in a clinical trial, the treatment you seek may or may not be available to help with your condition now, but it might help many other people in the future.
THEY BRING NEW TREATMENTS TO MARKET
Every product that is utilized in clinical practice – from new medicines to vaccines and devices – have been rigorously tested in many phases of clinical trials before they are ever used in a doctor’s office or surgical suite. Without clinical trial participants, the discoveries and advances will not happen!
THEY PROVIDE GOOD INFORMATION
Let us say a doctor has five licensed drugs available to treat a particular condition. He/she writes a prescription for a patient and if it works, great. If not, they will try a different one. It is trial and error. However, if we conducted a clinical trial with these drugs, we can systematically test to determine which one is more effective. It is essentially quality improvement.
THEY TEST SAFETY AND EFFICACY
We want to make sure that a new treatment or device is safe and effective before it is brought to market and used in clinical practice. There are four different phases of clinical trials as well as many regulatory bodies (FDA, USDA, OHRP, IRB) overseeing the safety and efficacy before it gets approval. After a treatment goes to market, there are safety checks as well.
THEY TAKE OUT A PHYSICIAN’S BIAS
Physicians want to do what is best for their patients. However, sometimes they are unintentionally biased, thinking that a new drug is better than an old one. Sometimes it is not. The only way they can know for certain is by relying on clinical research. It helps them to be systematic in their practice and provide better clinical care. Again, the medical community continually striving for quality improvement.