FAQs

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How do I take part in a clinical trial?

In order to take part in a clinical trial you will need to be referred to us. Please visit our page called 'how to be referred' which gives step by step instructions on who to approach for the referral letter and where to send it to. For more information you could also email us at ........What happens after I agree to take part in a clinical trial?

The first stage is obtaining your written consent to take part in the studye can

Where can I find results from trials which are relevant to me?

The results of clinical trials are usually published in specialist medical journals and online libraries of evidence.

Some of the most well-known examples are:

You can use a search engine such as Google to look for articles and read summaries (abstracts). But you can't usually see the full articles without a subscription to the journal.

Also, research papers are not written in plain English and often use many medical, scientific and statistical terms. They can be very difficult to understand.

How are trial results used to improve treatment?

Clinical trials can help:

  • prevent illnesses by testing a vaccine
  • detect or diagnose illnesses by testing a scan or blood test
  • treat illnesses by testing new or existing medicines
  • find out how best to provide psychological support 
  • find out how people can control their symptoms or improve their quality of life – for example, by testing how a particular diet affects a condition

Many clinical trials are designed to show whether new medicines work as expected. These results are sent to the MHRA, which decides whether to allow the company making the medicine to market it for a particular use.

  • How long will it be before the results of the trial are known?
  • What will happen if I stop the trial treatment or leave the trial before it ends?
  • What would happen if something went wrong? It's rare for patients to be harmed by trial treatments, but you may want to ask about compensation if this were to happen.

 

Practical questions

  • How much of my time will be needed?
  • Will I need to take time off work?
  • Will I be paid?
  • Will the costs of my travel to take part in the trial be covered?
  • If the trial is testing a new drug, will I have to collect it from the hospital, will it be sent to me by post, or will I get it through my doctor?
  • Will I have to complete questionnaires or keep a diary?
  • What are the possible side effects of my treatment?

Phase one trials:

  • A small number of people, who may be healthy volunteers, are given the medicine.
  • The drug is being trialled in human volunteers for the first time.
  • Researchers test for side effects and calculate what the right dose might be to use in treatment.
  • Researchers start with small doses and only increase the dose if the volunteers don't experience any side effects, or if they only experience minor side effects.

Phase two trials:

  • The new medicine is tested on a larger group of people who are ill. This is to get a better idea of its effects in the short term.

Phase three trials:

  • Carried out on medicines that have passed phases one and two.
  • The medicine is tested in larger groups of people who are ill, and compared against an existing treatment or a placebo to see if it's better in practice and if it has important side effects.
  • Trials often last a year or more and involve several thousand patients.

Phase four trials:

  • The safety, side effects and effectiveness of the medicine continue to be studied while it is being used in practice.
  • Not required for every medicine.
  • Only carried out on medicines that have passed all the previous stages and have been given marketing licences – a licence means the medicine can be made available on prescription.
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