When I have approached practice patients, friends, and people at a support group about participating in a research study many have asked-"why should I participate? Aren't I just being a guinea pig"? I thought my first blog entry should answer this question as it is the basis of why we conduct studies. I have spoken to 2 of our Investigators about these questions and they had 2 different but important responses. First, Dr. John Condemi explained to me that we have to think about our genetic makeup and how race plays a part. Every race of people have different reactions to different substances. As Americans, we are unique in our genetic makeup from Japanese, Mexican, even European races. Studies are performed around the world to make sure the medication meets each country’s standards. Medication may work differently on different races of people. If, for instance, a medication is tested in Japan, the results obtained in Japan may differ from the results in India or America. The only way to know if a medication is safe and effective on Americans, is to test it on Americans.
Secondly, It is very important to find out any possible side effects of a medication during its testing phase.
All side effects must be considered during the drug approval process. Dr. Deane explains that in some countries, a person’s only access to medication may be a clinical trial. They may not report a side effect for fear they will be discontinued from
the study and receive no medication for their condition. For the majority of Americans, this isn’t the case and side effects get reported. It is important for Americans to participate in clinical trials and report all side effects so the
FDA can make an informed decision on whether a drug is safe for Americans to use.
Both reasons are equally important to urge Americans like you and me to participate in clinical trials right here in the states where the procedures are closely monitored by competent and caring doctors and nurses so medication that come to market can be safely used by our patients, friends, and family.