Should I Participate in a Clinical Trial?
If you have a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation, or are at risk for developing the condition, you may want to participate in a clinical trial for Afib.
What Are Clinical Trials?
Clinical trials are tests that researchers conduct to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of treatments for AFib and other conditions.
Researchers use trials to evaluate the effects of medications, procedures, medical products, and other types of interventions. For example, a study may be conducted to determine if a special diet reduces episodes of AFib. A new procedure for performing cardioversion may be evaluated. New medications might need to be tested to see if they are safe, effective, and well tolerated. Medication doses are tested and drugs are compared to see which ones are most effective.
Clinical trials may be used to evaluate the effects of meditation or exercise on AFib. The use of clinical trials ensures the development of effective and safe treatments for AFib and other health concerns.
Phases of Clinical Trials
In the USA there are clinical trials and observational studies. In the USA and many other countries, clinical trials fall into one of five categories. You are most likely to participate in a phase two, three, or four clinical study.
The following is an example of the phases in a medication trial.
- Phase 0: A small study may be conducted on a very limited number of people to see what kinds of effects a diluted dose of a medication or substance has on the test subjects. The substance is not being evaluated for a specific use. It is just being looked at to see what actions it has. It is unlikely that you would participate in this kind of study.
- Phase 1: Clinical studies are conducted on healthy individuals who do not have AFib. The purpose of this kind of study is to evaluate the safety of the medication. Investigators note the effects of the drug, its side effects, and the frequency of side effects. This kind of research provides investigators with information about how the drug is used in the body and how it is eliminated.
- Phase 2: You may be a candidate to take part in a phase two clinical trial if you have AFib. Researchers often compare a medication with a placebo or another medication to see how well the studied drug works. In addition to evaluating safety, the purpose of a phase two clinical trial is to see if a treatment potentially offers benefits for people who have a certain condition.
- Phase 3: These are often large scale studies. The medication is administered to a wide array of individuals, in various doses. The researchers continue to evaluate the drug’s safety and effectiveness. This is where the medication is “fine-tuned.” A phase three clinical trial is the final stage of testing that drug manufacturers are required to perform before the government makes a decision whether or not to approve the drug for use or not.
- Phase 4: Once a drug is approved for use by the public, ongoing phase four studies occur. Manufacturers are required to conduct phase four clinical trials, which are designed to ensure the public that the drug is effective and safe for use.
Where Are Clinical Trials Conducted?
Clinical trials are conducted worldwide. They are conducted in a wide array of settings. You may be able to participate in a clinical trial right in your hometown.
Some clinical research is conducted at universities and by pharmaceutical companies. Many studies take place in hospitals affiliated with universities.
Is Participating in a Clinical Trial Expensive?
No. If you are participating in a trial for a new medication, for example, you will be provided with the medication and related costs free of charge. If you need to travel to participate in a clinical trial, you may be compensated for your time and expenses.
Why Should I Consider Participating in a Clinical Trial?
You will help researchers learn about the most effective ways to prevent and treat atrial fibrillation. You may receive a cutting edge treatment which controls symptoms better than other treatments.
Next page: some things to keep in mind before signing up, and where to find atrial fibrillation clinical trials.