What is Clinical Research?

April 14, 2020

What is Clinical Research?

Hello! Today I want to discuss the question that might be on some of your minds when you hear TOPAZ Clinical Research; what is clinical research anyways? Follow along today as I address this question and hopefully give you answers that make sense and satisfy your curiosity.

Many of us have mental images of test tubes, wires, labs, rats and “experiments” where doctors or technicians are injecting drugs into people/rats and “waiting to see what happens”. This is far from the truth and provides a very limited view of the medical advances that come from clinical research.

According to the video on our homepage titled What is Clinical Research, “Clinical Research is how scientists and other professionals obtain information to answer questions that they hope will benefit society.” Clinical Research according to our homepage is, “Clinical research refers to a series of investigations that help discover new or better ways to treat, diagnose, prevent, and understand the medical conditions that affect us.” This definition is a good one, but I want to go in a little more detail to what that means for you as a possible future participant.

Each study in clinical research is aiming to serve some purpose. This purpose can be with the goal to get a medication to market which makes it available to the public via prescriptions from their doctors (or over the counter depending on the medication, even Tylenol went through a study at one point). Another goal might be the development of a new baby formula such as the one we currently have going on. Some studies are for educational purposes and bring about new ideas for medical professionals.

A medical study is not right for everyone and some studies will benefit some people and not others. Unlike medical care, when you go to the doctor and the doctor makes decisions based solely on you as a person, medical studies aim to benefit the population as a whole and need participants, such as yourself, to get the drug through the testing phases so that end can be reached. Does that mean there aren’t benefits to participating? Of course not! There are always some benefits to participants, otherwise why join? The first benefit is being a part of the greater good, taking the steps necessary to help the public and eventually provide a medication to the market. Another benefit is that depending on if you end up in the drug group (there is usually a drug group and placebo group, you won’t know which you are in) you might actually see improvements in whatever is being studied (think headaches, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, etc.). Studies usually offer some compensation for time/travel which can help and of course all study-related exams and information is provided completely free to the participant.  

The most important thing to know if you plan or are curious about participating in clinical research is the risks and benefits to you. Each study is different with different goals and protocol. Each study has something called an “Informed Consent Form” which provides you with all the information surrounding the study. From here you can write down additional questions you may have and speak directly with the study coordinators/healthcare providers. Studies are closely monitored by doctors called Principal Investigators, these people (or person depending on the study) are there for you and monitors your health information closely. If you have any negative experiences the doctor will pull you from the study if necessary. You ALWAYS have the option to stop participating at anytime as well. This form details your rights and the expectations for each participant. If a study looks interesting to you, don’t hesitate to gather more information and speak with a study coordinator, because it just might be the best decision you make. Information is key.

I hope this blog answered most of your questions and if you have any more, please check out the videos on our homepage at www.topazclinicalresearch.com or contact us directly. We would be happy to answer any additional questions you might have, and we look forward to seeing you next time on the blog. Stay safe and healthy.

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