Clinical Trials: What You Need To Know, and How Do You Find One

September 4, 2018

After having a stroke, you’ve received various forms of treatments. You may have taken prescription medications, undergone certain procedures, and received therapy from various rehabilitation professionals. All of these treatments, before being used with patients, have been thoroughly researched and tested through studies called clinical trials.

What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials refer to research studies or experiments that involve patients with a specific disease or condition who willingly participate. The purpose of these studies is to test whether a new treatment is effective, safe and whether it works better than a different treatment that is available. Various clinical trials can have different purposes: to prevent illness, diagnose illness, or treat it. Most of these studies are carried out by universities, the government, or pharmaceutical companies.

How can it help you?

There are several reasons to consider participating in a clinical trial. First of all, as a participant, you automatically get free access to a therapy that is not yet available anywhere else. Since leading hospitals and medical centers usually conduct these studies, you’ll likely receive high-quality care and regular, frequent monitoring. In addition to the treatment you’ll receive, you may also get a feeling of personal satisfaction from knowing that you are helping stroke survivors get better treatment.

What will you need to do?

First, in order to participate, you’ll need to meet a set of conditions known as inclusion and exclusion criteria. Since every study has a different focus, the study may only look for people with certain characteristics. For example, if a study is examining a treatment that is specific to ischemic stroke, then only those who had an ischemic stroke can participate. Once you find the right trial for you, you’ll need to sign an informed consent. This is your agreement to join (you are free to stop participating any time you choose). As far as the trial itself, there is a big range of methods. While some may require filling out simple questionnaires that take a few minutes, others may require your participation over several months or even years.

Are there any downsides?

You might face several inconveniences when participating in a clinical trial. Firstly, it involves commuting to a facility that may not be located near your house. This may be especially demanding if you are unable to drive, need to arrange for childcare or work full time. Secondly, if the trial involves using a particular medication, there may be side effects. The researchers will, however, inform you of all the potential side effects beforehand. This gives you a chance to weigh the risks and the benefits and choose whether you still want to participate. Lastly, another potential downside is the fact that you may not be in the group that receives the therapy. Meaning, in clinical trials, a group receiving the treatment is often compared to a “control” group that doesn’t receive the therapy.

How do you find one?

At Strokemark we make it simple for you to find a clinical trial in your area. Go to our Clinical Trial Locator, enter your information, and a list of clinical trials in your area will appear. If you need help finding one, or have any questions at all, do not hesitate to contact us at sarah@strokemark.com

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