Rheumatoid Arthritis Clinical Trials

In order to develop the most effective and safe methods for treating, diagnosing, preventing and understanding disease, physicians, scientists and researchers hold clinical trials. Patients actively participate in controlled health assessments and treatment testing in order for medications and devices to be assessed and eventually approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Clinical trials are an important part of disease and treatment research. Some of the most advanced findings in research and treatment have resulted from successful clinical trials. To continue to develop the most adequate and safe long-term treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, clinical trials are held all over the world for participating rheumatoid arthritis patient volunteers.

What are Clinical Trials?

Clinical trials are controlled assessment and research environments held in different locations around the world that focus on one particular idea regarding a disease or condition. Patient volunteers are assessed and selected to attend and participate in a clinical trial.

The goals of the clinical trials can vary from disease research and diagnostic analyses to looking for preventative measures and finding the best possible treatment options.

Here are examples of types of activities that happen at clinical trials:

  • New drug treatments
  • Combination drug treatments
  • Treatment using new surgical procedures
  • Treatment using new medical devices
  • New uses of existing forms of treatment

In addition to clinical trials, researchers also hold clinical research sessions, which may focus less on treatment and more on understanding the disease and how to diagnose and prevent it. Here are some of the activities that happen during clinical research:

  • Scientific medical investigations on individuals or groups of patients
  • Studies on medical backgrounds and family histories to help find common diagnostic criteria
  • Disease progression studies
  • Disease complication studies

How do Clinical Trials Work?

Clinical trials start with an initial idea of what the researchers want to better understand and safely test. New treatments that have proven successful in a laboratory setting can be moved to clinical trials for active patient participation.

A Principal Investigator (PI) who is usually a physician leads the clinical trials. Research team members monitor results and assess safety and efficacy.

In addition to the research team, an Institutional Review Board (IRB) usually approves the clinical trial and oversees its progress to protect patients and reduce risks.

In order to begin a clinical trial, it must follow a specific protocol or structured plan as to how the study will be conducted. The following is the general protocol that clinical trials follow:

  • Decide patient eligibility for participation
  • Disclose testing procedures, medications, and their dosages
  • Provide information about the study length and the information that will be collected

Once the idea for research testing is formulated, the researchers must follow this protocol to select the appropriate candidates. This protocol includes which patients are eligible to participate, and this is often based on age, sex, and the stage of the disease.

The protocol also includes information about the types of treatment, information, and dosages that will be shared and provided during the clinical trial. The plan also outlines how long the study will run for, and the information that will be gathered during the study.

Patient care is the driving force behind clinical trials. The purpose of the disease research is to ensure that the highest levels of patient care are safely and effectively made available to all those in need.

Why Clinical Trials are Important

Clinical trials are a crucial catalyst between disease research and the availability of treatment options. The findings of clinical trials lead to scientific discoveries about how to not only effectively treat the disease, but how to diagnose, prevent and understand the disease altogether.

Patients who participate in clinical trials report that they feel their participation is contributing to the positive advancement of science. They not only want to help others, but they also understand the possibility that they can receive the latest in treatment and medical attention.

Clinical trials offer support and hope to patients and their families and to others who may need treatment in the future.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Clinical Trials

Because rheumatoid arthritis has no known exact cause and no known cure, clinical trials are extremely important in helping better understand the disease. Rheumatoid arthritis clinical trials discover new information about the disease, as well as how it progresses and how to better diagnose it.

Of course, one of the most important aspects of rheumatoid arthritis clinical trials is finding safe and effective treatments that stop or slow the disease’s progress. New treatments are being tested that include advanced types of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) including immunotherapies and biological response modifiers.

Rheumatoid arthritis clinical trials are available to select rheumatoid arthritis patients. To find out about the available clinical trials you must first discuss the opportunities with your physician. Your physician can refer you to ongoing clinical trials and disease registries that you can be a part of.

What to Know About Participating in Rheumatoid Arthritis Clinical Trials

Being part of a clinical trial can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience that helps with critical scientific discoveries. If you are considering participating in a clinical trial, there are some important things to know before you proceed.

Here are some things to consider and understand before participating in a rheumatoid arthritis clinical trial:

  • Understand clearly the potential risks including the chance and degree of harm that can occur
  • Know the required commitment including length of time, blood testing, hospital stays and more
  • Thoroughly review the informed consent document prior to signing the agreement
  • Fully discuss the risks and benefits with your physician and family
  • Educate yourself on the benefits of the clinical trial including access to new treatments and therapies
  • Discover if there are any costs associated with participating in the clinical trial
  • Have a positive mindset about your participation and your ability to help others

Participating in clinical trials gives you the chance to receive additional medical attention and support. Be sure to ask plenty of questions along the way including why the study is important, how it is being funded and reviewed, and what are the safety concerns.

Clinical trials are held to high safety standards and ethical guidelines. Though there are potential risks, there are also tremendous benefits. Be sure to weigh the risks and benefits to ensure you feel confident before moving forward with participating in a clinical trial.