What is a clinical trial?
A clinical trial is a way of finding out what the safest and most effective way to prevent or treat an illness/medical condition is.
Why do we do clinical trials?
Clinical trials help us find out what treatment works best for preventing or treating illnesses/medical conditions. Treatments could include:
- medical devices
- radiation treatment
- physical/sensory (e.g. light) or exercise therapies
- psychological therapies
- educational programmes
Why are clinical trials important?
It is in everyone’s interest (patients and doctors) to know what’s the best way to treat or prevent a specific illness. That is why we do clinical trials to find out which of the current treatments available work best. And before recommending or prescribing any new treatments, it is important to find out whether they are any more effective than existing treatments and if they cause any side effects. Clinical trials are designed to answer these questions, leading to better health and quality of life for patients.
Getting involved in clinical trials enables doctors to find to see whether the new methods are effective and safe. Trials are very carefully planned and regulated to ensure that patient safety is at their heart. Without them, there is a risk that people will be given treatments that don’t work, or could even be dangerous. Most NHS treatments have been tested in clinical trials.