For many, the idea of participating in a clinical trial sounds intimidating, risky, or downright inconvenient. However, especially for people with conditions like IBD—a condition that researchers are still working to understand and effectively treat—participating in a clinical trial can have a profound positive impact, not only on an individual level, but for future patients as well.
Read about the most common misconceptions of clinical trials—and discover that a clinical trial might be the best choice as you take steps towards getting your IBD symptoms under control.
Misconception: You’ll feel like you’re part of a mad scientist’s experiment
Thinking that you’ll be thrown into an unpredictable environment led by a fuzzy-haired maniac in a lab coat, subjected to tests with uncertain methods and outcomes? Think again.
Reality: You’ll likely be working with some of the best doctors in the field
Clinical trials are designed to evaluate the latest innovations in the pharmaceutical market. These innovations are spearheaded by leading professionals who have performed in-depth research on your condition and focused their career on creating better IBD treatment outcomes. Rest assured that they are passionate and knowledgeable about your condition, your current treatment, and your health. In fact, participating in an IBD clinical trial is a great way to get face-to-face time with highly qualified researchers and doctors who may be able to share insight around your symptoms and treatment options.
Misconception: The medications will have worse side effects
Medications in clinical trials are being tested for the first time—there’s no telling what unpredictable side effects they might have, right? Actually, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Reality: Often, the drugs have less side effects than existing options
By the time new medications make it to clinical trials, they have already undergone testing for efficacy and safety. A standard procedure that requires that a new drug pass through multiple phases of clinical trials ensures that, by the time you’re using it in a clinical trial, it’s safe and at least somewhat effective.
Keep in mind that you might not even be testing an entirely new IBD treatment, as pharmaceutical companies might be testing a different administration (oral vs. intravenous, liquid capsule vs. powder tablet) of a formula that’s already been on the market for years. Very often, new medications are being developed by well-known, successful drug companies who are on a mission for safer, more convenient, or less expensive alternatives to an already existing formula.
Misconception: You’ll be spending a lot of time in a research lab
Think you’ll be spending hours upon hours hooked up to an array of machines, wondering what the people in lab coats are writing down in their notebooks? Think again!
Reality: You’ll probably visit your local clinic or hospital
The timing of your visits will depend on your specific trial, but one thing’s almost certain: you’ll simply visit a clinic or hospital. The medical team that’s running the trial works in close collaboration with your GI’s practising hospital, and while they might have your results sent to a lab off-premises, you’ll most likely be reporting to same clinical setting that you’re already familiar with.
Trials are taking place all over the country, if you're interested in learning more about participating in an IBD clinical trial near you, explore your options here.