A medical trial (or a clinical trial) is a set of tests that are conducted to test the efficacy – and sometimes the safety – of a drug or treatment at several stages of its development. Different ‘phases’ of clinical trials are conducted at different stages of the development of the drug
• Phase 1 Trials: These trials are used to test a treatment at the earliest stage of its development; a small group of healthy patients are selected for these trials and given small doses of the drug
• Phase 2 Trials: When the treatment passes Phase 1 and is administered to a larger group (say 100-200 people) of people who suffer from the conditions, the drug aims to treat
• Phase 3 Trials: These trials span about two to four years, and the treatment is administered to hundreds or even thousands of patients to test the efficacy of the drug
• Phase 4 Trials: These trials are conducted when the medicine is available on the market, over a much larger group, to collect information on the drug’s properties, and side effects, if any
Medical trials are designed to keep the participants in comfort while they are being monitored for their response to the drug or treatment. The length of the trial can vary from three days to three weeks. The average trial, however, lasts between eight to 10 days. ‘Out-patient’ studies are those that require participants to stay in the unit for a short period, and make regular visits to be monitored. Sometimes, volunteers are requested to visit over several weeks, and stay at the unit for two or three days every visit.
People who are participating in long-term clinical trials are generally lodged in a unit where their response can be monitored around the clock. The participants are housed in wards that they will share with about 5-6 people, with en-suite facilities in each of the wards.
In addition to lodging facilities, the participants also have access to lounge rooms (with indoor games like pool), unlimited Internet access, different board games and video games, a DVD library, a variety of TV channels, and laundry services.
Participants are provided with meals that can be chosen from a menu, which also includes vegetarian alternatives. All meals are provided, depending on the clinical trial being conducted, meals can usually be selected from a menu but there are some trials which require all patients to be on the same diet.
If you would like to know more about clinical trials, visit the PAREXEL site to find out more information and apply for one of the upcoming clinical trials.