Parkinson's Disease Clinical Trials (cont.)

How Does the Clinical Trial Process Work?

Clinical trials are conducted in phases -- each designed to find out specific information. Each new phase of a clinical trial builds on information from previous phases.

Participants may be eligible for clinical trials in different phases, depending on the participants' overall condition. Most clinical trial participants take part in phases III and IV.

In a phase I clinical trial, a new research treatment is given to a small number of participants. The researchers determine the best way to give the new treatment and how much of it can be given safely.

Phase II clinical trials determine the effectiveness of the research treatment on the disease or condition being evaluated.

Phase III clinical trials compare the new treatment with the standard treatment.

Phase IV clinical trials apply the new treatment to patient care. For example, a new drug that was found effective in a clinical trial may then be used together with other effective drugs to treat the particular disease or special condition in a select group of patients.

What Are the Advantages of Participating in a Clinical Trial?

The advantages of participating in a clinical trial include the following:

  • Clinical trials make it possible to apply the latest scientific and technological advances to patient care.
  • You may receive a new treatment before it is widely available to the public.
  • You can help to provide researchers with information they need to continue developing new procedures and introducing new treatment methods, for your benefit and to benefit others.
  • Your treatment costs may be decreased, since many of the tests and doctor visits that are directly related to the clinical trial are paid for by the company or agency sponsoring the study. Be sure to discuss your treatment costs with the doctors and nurses conducting the clinical trial.

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