CLINICAL TRIALS LIKE CRAZY

This entry was posted by Friday, 17 December, 2010
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DOCTORS CAN BE VERY REASSURING (1906)

THE GOOD

Life’s good, right? You’re very loved.

Money? Enough. Who needs more? Besides. Money’s not what counts. Summers are warm. Winters? Crisp. With snowball fights, skiing, and frosty branches glistening in front of the window.

It’ll always be like that. Nothing bad’s gonna happen. I Promise.

THE UGLY

Just in case my spell doesn’t work, here’s a resource. It’s for when somebody gets sick.

Very sick.

So sick that he or she runs out of options and the Doc, so optimistic and reassuring at first,  looks uneasy and emphasizes the need to be realistic. This is a place to go that’s out beyond the end of the road. Maybe it’s the next road. It’s called TrialsCentral.org . It was started  by Kay Dickersin  and a group from The Center for Clinical Trials and Evidence-based Healthcare at Brown University.

Couple of things to remember.

First, be sure you get yourself a second opinion. You’re not being disloyal. It’s a routine part of medicine. Your doctor won’t be the LEAST bit uncomfortable. He or she will be glad to make some recommendations. In fact, your Doc will also help you go over the possibilities for possible clinical trials.  You shouldn’t  feel you need to do this on your own.

Clinical trials are labeled as phase I, phase II,  phase III or phase IV. Phase I’s where they weed out the REAL stinkers. They’re looking at side effects and what can be tolerated. Mostly, they’re not looking for sick people anyway. Phase II’s where thing’s get a little more serious. They’re starting to figure out “efficacy” and trying to figure out what’s the right dose. Phase III’s where they get to spend lots of money recruiting subjects in trials in various locations around the country. These are the make/break tests that determine if it gets approved. The phase IV trials are kinda “tune ups” that’re done on drugs that are already out there.  (There are also “phase 0” trials – ultra cautious tests on a few people. A sanity check to make sure they’re ready to do the Phase I stuff).

STUBBORN ENOUGH TO LIVE

If you’re looking for a miracle (am I mixing metaphors?) you’re interested in Phase III trials.  But. remember, even in a phase III trial with a very promising drug there’s a good chance you may be placed in a control group, meaning that you don’t get the drug or its benefits. And trials are EXPERIMENTS. They’re risky. You might have a better (short) life if you just carry on.

But you’re a gambler, aren’t you? You’re not gonna go unless you HAVE to. And you’re damn well not gonna go without a fight. Well don’t  forget that you may be able to argue for “compassionate use” (single patient access), meaning screw the science, just the drug please. Not EVERYONE wants to give a life for science.

Just a small footnote. (Well, I have to say this.) MisterScienceAin’tSoBad would never, knowingly, give you any bad advice or misinformation, but biomedical engineers don’t treat patients and don’t give medical advice. I do offer the very best information that I can but where your health’s at stake, you’ll want to verify anything you read here.

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Attribution for above image: By Anonymous [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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