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How to Find and Get Into a Clinical Trial

Posted May 13 2009 11:32pm
If you are interested in identifying a clinical trial, I encourage you to do so. You might benefit from the experimental medication; and, you will be helping to advance the search for a cure or treatment.
All clinical trials are registered at Clinical Trials.gov. You never pay for a clinical trial. Clinical trials are free and the sponsor absorbs all costs.

All open clinical trials are actively seeking and recruiting new participants. One of the biggest problems right now is finding enough participants for ongoing clinical trials. As a result, you will find that participating clinics are waiting for your call, and anxious to determine if you meet the suitability requirements to enter a clinical trial.

To find a clinical trial, go to Clinical Trials.gov. If you know how to searching for information on the Internet, you will find the process of getting a list of clinical trials very easy.

Searching is as simple as entering a disease or illness into a search box. For example, you can enter the word "alzheimer's" into the search box to get a list of every clinical trial and its current status (recruiting new participants, not yet recruiting new participants, completed).

You can also enter the illness and your location. For example: Alzheimer's Delray Beach.

Each clinical trial page is loaded with information. This includes but is not limited to:
  • Purpose and condition
  • Primary and Secondary Outcome Measure
  • Enrollment
  • Study size
  • Eligibility
  • Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
  • Contacts and Location
You should pay close attention to the three I highlighted above.

  • For eligibility: age and gender are important. For example, my mother is to old for the majority of Alzheimer's clinical trials now available.
  • The list of inclusion and exclusion criteria vary, but they are spelled out clearly on the clinical trial page. Exclusion criteria vary widely but you could be ruled out if you are taking a conflicting drug, or have an alcohol or drug addiction. You will be ruled out of most clinical trials if a stable, reliable, committed caregiver is not in place.
  • Location is a major factor in identifying and selecting a clinical trial. If it is not national study with a location near where you live, it won't make sense to apply.

If you are near a suitable location, the contact process is simple. You call, they ask a series of questions, and if there are no obvious exclusions they will set you up with an appointment to come into the office. Most clinical trials also offer email contact. My advice is to call.

When you arrive for your appointment, you will be asked a battery of questions. At this point, you might receive one or more documents that describe the clinical trial. These documents are rather long and somewhat technical. They also disclose all the risks associated with the clinical trial.

If you receive the clinical trial disclosure documents, it would be a good idea to discuss these with your personal care physician. You might also check with friends or an association to get some help with the technical jargon and discussion of the risks associated with the trial.

If you make it this far, you will then be subjected to a series of tests that will likely include the Mini-Mental State Examination and other memory tests. A complete physical and blood work-up are also part of the process. You might need to acquire copies of previous tests like MRIs.

A this point you find out if you are accepted or rejected. Any rejection criteria will be explained to you.

If you are accepted into a clinical trial, you won't be expected to pay any of the costs. The pre-qualification testing is also free. If you are asked for any money while applying for a clinical trial-- walk out the door.

All the costs are absorbed by the clinical trial sponsor. It is possible that you will be reimbursed for things like travel.

If you are interested in identifying a clinical trial, I encourage you to do so. You might benefit from the experimental medication; and, you will be helping to advance the search for a cure or treatment.

Also see: What is a clinical Trial?
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Bob DeMarco is a Caregiver. In addition to being an experienced writer he taught at the University of Georgia , was an Associate Director and Limited Partner at Bear Stearns, the CEO of IP Group, and a mentor. Bob currently resides in Delray Beach, FL where he cares for his mother, Dorothy, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease.





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