Why Should I Participate in a Clinical Trial?

At Austin Retina Associates, we understand that there are a number of misconceptions patients may have about what it means to participate in a clinical trial. These misconceptions are unsurprising, as clinical trials, particularly modern ones, are not part of our normal, everyday conversations.

We hope that the information below will help describe the reality of being in a clinical trial and the many potential benefits of the process. Of course, if you have questions or are interested in a specific clinical trial with our practice, please contact our staff today.

What is a clinical trial? And are they safe?

Clinical trials are scientific medical research initiatives into the appropriateness, effectiveness and safety of new treatments in humans. The goal of a clinical trial, whether for a vision-related issue or other health problem, is to improve patient care and advance medical knowledge. And yes, they are safe as long as they are conducted by reputable, experienced organizations, such as Austin Retina Associates.

Why do clinical trials exist?

Clinical trials present an opportunity for patients to try medications and treatments that might not otherwise be available because the scientific community is not yet fully confident in their success (e.g. not yet FDA approved), but believe that the highest possible quality of data can be achieved while ensuring patient safety. This means that, at the completion of the trial, those involved will have possibly found successful treatment and such treatment can move forward toward use for the general population.

Here are some core benefits to clinical trial participation at Austin Retina:

  • Participants will (potentially) have access to the newest and most advanced drug(s) ahead of FDA approval.
  • The “worst case scenario” for participation is that a patient would receive standard care.
  • Participants enjoy “extra” care as being involved in a trial includes additional blood testing or imagining – all of which are carefully monitored by the trial’s clinical team.
  • There is no cost to the patient – ever. Patients might even receive a stipend.
  • Patients are connected with a main coordinator throughout the trial for every visit over the course of 6/12/24 months – A true VIP experience.
  • A trial is an opportunity to receive potential treatment when no other remedy is currently available.

Who is a good candidate for a clinical trial?

The answer to this is very dependent on the type of clinical trial being offered and the symptoms and condition a patient is experiencing. For example, a patient may have condition “X” but not display any symptoms relating to a specific clinical trial, so they would not be a good fit for that trial. Of course, your doctor is the best resource for advice regarding clinical trials that are applicable to your individual situation.

We recommend that you connect with your doctor in order to determine whether there is a trial you can participate in. Your doctor will only recommend a trial if he or she believes it will be of significant benefit to your health – having someone enter into a clinical trial is not taken lightly or without real consideration.

How do I find out whether I can participate in a clinical trial?

As noted, your doctor is the one to talk to about participating in a clinical trial. At Austin Retina, we frequently enroll patients in open clinical trials when possible. Sometimes, a clinical trial can reach capacity and we are unable to continue enrollment. You can learn more about trials that are currently open for enrollment here. You can also contact our office to ask about clinical trial participation today.