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  • Busting Myths About Clinical Trials

    by Andrea Thompson

    Clinical trials can seem confusing or even a little scary, but that’s because they’re often misunderstood. Let’s just clear up a few common myths about clinical trials.

    “Clinical trials seem sketchy or unsafe.”

    According to the FDA, new treatments and medications in the process of FDA approval may only be tested on humans after extensive laboratory testing provides valid evidence that the treatment or device appears to be safe and effective. Every clinical trial is closely monitored by third parties to promote the safety of its participants. If at any time the medical monitors overseeing the project believe the treatment or device is unsafe, the trial is stopped. Also, if the treatment or device appears to be, without a doubt, effective and safe, the trial may be stopped so that steps can be taken to make the treatment available to all patients.

    “I don’t want to be treated like a human Guinea pig.”

    Most research patients describe their experiences with research as positive. Just like you develop relationships with your primary care doctors, patients build relationships with study coordinators and physicians conducting research who provide great health care, even in a research setting. The study coordinating team is comprised of a group of physicians, RNs, LPNs, medical assistants, pharmacists, and certified study coordinators and ensures close communication with the research patient’s primary care physician to include sharing lab results, outcomes, etc. You’re never treated like a Guinea pig. You’re treated as a patient.

    “Research studies are too confusing and I just don’t have the time.”

    Although there is a lot of information to consider when contemplating participation in a research study, every effort is made to ensure that patients consider all of the risks and benefits before enrolling in a trial. Each study is different when it comes to time commitment, but there is some flexibility. Patients are also often compensated for their time and travel.

    “I don’t have any insurance coverage.”

    Most clinical trials don’t involve your insurance company, and your information is kept confidential. Be sure to talk to your study coordinator about details. The pharmaceutical or device company pays for all costs related to the research study to include labs, study tests, x-rays, etc.

    “I’m not sick enough.”

    Most clinical trials actually prefer patients who are otherwise healthy except for one specific condition. That condition could be as small as athlete’s foot or as serious as having experienced a heart attack. There is really a clinical trial for just about anyone willing to participate.

    If you would like some information on the clinical trials we are conducting here at MultiCare, please visit the MultiCare Research Institute website.

    Andrea Thompson is a Clinical Research Coordinator at the Research Institute, Neuroscience Division. She can be reached at 253-403-7440 or andrea.thompson@multicare.org.

    Posted on Jan 9, 2012 in