Are you a senior who suffers from an untreatable or poorly treated medical condition? Have you ever considered entering a drug trial? One of these carefully controlled studies may be the key to finding a life-saving treatment or relief from some medical problem that has resisted available therapy. Millions of seniors suffer from illnesses that are not managed satisfactorily by existing treatments. These may range from life-changing conditions like Parkinson’s disease to irritating problems like seasonal allergies.
Clinical trials investigate new ways to treat or prevent disease. The goal is to determine if a new treatment is effective and safe. These trials may also look at new ways to improve the quality of life for people with chronic diseases. Seniors may have a variety of reasons for taking part in a given trial. Healthy people may want to simply help advance medical knowledge, but seniors who have an existing illness often do so for personal reasons. These trials offer a way to obtain the newest treatment and get additional care at no cost.
These studies are quite common. The website, Clinical Trials.gov features a map showing the number of trials underway worldwide. There are now 161,493 active trials going on in the United States and 128,882 in Europe. Clicking on Florida, you will find that there are thousands of studies in this state. As you would expect, many of these trials are seeking new treatments for conditions like diabetes, Parkinsonism, or COPD common to seniors.
Using the search function at ClinicalTrials.gov, seniors can look for trials near them. The OurSeniors.net staff searched the database for Alzheimer’s disease studies recruiting participants. This database lists 49 studies within 100 miles of Orlando, Florida looking for participants. Some of these studies are conducted by private research groups, while others are based at medical centers, including the University of Florida (Gainesville), UCF (Orlando), and USF (Tampa).
These trials offer the hope of discovering new, safe, and effective treatments for conditions that have resisted medical treatments in the past. Very often, the physicians involved in these studies are among the best qualified in the field of study. Participating in a clinical trial may provide a senior with levels of care that are not available in the open market. However, you should consider several things before applying to enter a clinical trial.
Have you exhausted your local, community-based resources? Your GP, internist or specialist may have tried all the currently available therapies and none of them have worked well. Joining a clinical trial will not involve personal expense, but it will require some of your time and effort. It may involve repeated visits to physicians, labs, or diagnostic facilities. For those reasons, you should consider carefully how much you want to try this new treatment.
Do you understand the benefits, risks and safety concerns involved? Why should you allow doctors to treat you with a drug if they are not sure it will work? The safety of these studies is closely monitored by the government and researchers are required to follow a strict set of rules. Before beginning a study, participants are told what to expect during the study and the things that might happen. This process Is called “Informed Consent,” and it gives participants a chance to fully understand the procedure.
You will be told all the information that is known about the treatment. For example, the new drug may offer no better results than already available drugs, it may cause side effects, and there might be some inconveniences. You might need to travel some or stay in a hospital. Trial participants are often divided into two groups, one that gets the active drug and another that receives a placebo. This enables researchers to compare results and determine if the test therapy offers any benefit. However, it also presents the possibility that you will not get the active drug.
On the plus side, you may get effective treatment for a disease before it is available to everyone else. As mentioned, these researchers are often top-notch practitioners in their field and can provide expert diagnosis and evaluation as part of your participation. You will play a more active role in your own healthcare and get information about resources and support groups. Even those trials that fail to find new therapies add to the knowledge base that researchers need.
If you are interested in participating in a clinical trial, use the resources above to check out the opportunities available near you. At OurSeniors.Net, we love to bring news you can use and helpful information. We are a senior living resource magazine, so please follow us for senior housing news, living in Florida articles, senior living resources and all-things-senior topics. Thanks for reading our blog and have a great day!