organized curiosity

Improving health care through research

When I Am Ill Put Me in a Clinical Trial

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Fortunately, I am now in excellent health. I try to keep it that way by moderation in everything (except I guess I work too much; this blog is being written at 7am on Sunday).  I keep moving in spite of my sedentary job, I eat well, I watch my weight, I don’t drink too much and I am happy most of the time. At my age, it is a bit unusual that I have no chronic health problems.  I did have a heart arrhythmia but it was cured at the QEII heart rhythm unit.

But I will develop some health problems and when I do, I will try to find a clinical trial to participate in.  Moreover, I will always encourage my family to find and participate in clinical trials. I even tried to sign up for the Ebola trial at the IWK but was too old for it. I sign up for as many studies as I can even if I am not sick.

Why do I want to participate in clinical trials?Research

  1. Clinical trials are a way to get new treatments before they are widely available. In addition, all study drugs are provided free of charge.
  2. Care in clinical trials is even more carefully monitored than in regular care. There are extra staff. Often times a special nurse is assigned to clinical trial participants. That means your condition is even more closely monitored.
  3. I always learn something and meet new people. This may not be a motivation for others but I think participating in research is fun and interesting. I meet the research staff and I have learned about things such as vaccines for shingles, new ways of measuring visual acuity and the benefits of blueberries.
  4. All clinical trials are voluntary. No one is ever required to be in a clinical trial and I can drop out any time without affecting future care.
  5. There is no cost to being in a clinical trials except time. In some trials where a lot of time is involved, there may be payment for participation.
  6. Clinical trials are safe. Before any clinical trial is done, many studies are completed on safety. Participants are monitored for any negative events. All trials are scrutinized by our Research Ethics Board which is made up of scientists, clinicians, ethicists and lawyers who have nothing to do with the trial.
  7. Clinical trials make a contribution to science and improve others treatments. Even if I don’t benefit from a new drug or process, I have the satisfaction of contributing important information to what we know.
  8. I never feel I am a “guinea pig” or am being denied care. In all cases, I am told exactly what will be done. In cases of important illnesses, most trials compare standard care with a new treatment that might be better. Sometimes the comparison is standard care plus a placebo versus standard care and another active drug.

~Dr. Patrick McGrath


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