Health research is an integral part of the development of new drugs and treatments that can benefit millions of patients within the NHS and the wider world. Research takes on different forms; for example, a patient may be asked questions about their medical condition or lifestyle. or they may be invited to volunteer for a clinical trial that involves testing a new drug or treatment in a clinical environment in which they can be monitored.
Patients may be approached by their GP or hospital consultant if they deem them suitable for a clinical trial. Some companies place advertisements in newspapers and online requesting volunteers. It is wise to check that trials have been approved by the Research Ethics Service, which is responsible for safeguarding the rights, safety and dignity of people taking part in research.
Benefits of volunteering
Medical research helps healthcare professionals to understand how to provide better medication and treatments that can benefit others in the future. If you were to take part in a clinical trial, you may be one of the first to benefit from a new treatment that is not widely available. Some healthcare research is well paid, while others will simply cover travel expenses.
Things to consider
Taking part in health research is a big decision and you should always weigh up the pros and cons. Make sure you are aware of what is involved, how much time is required of you, and whether there will be any restrictions placed on what you can do whilst involved. You must always bear in mind that you may experience unknown side effects from any new treatments.
The trial process
Companies such as http://www.richmondpharmacology.com/specialist-services/adaptive-phase-i-studies carry out adaptive phase 1 clinical studies whereby a small group is given a medicine that is being trialled in humans for the first time. They will be testing for side effects to calculate what the correct dose would be. Small doses are given and only increased if no or minimal side effects are recorded. This is followed by further trials involving larger groups.
Taking part in health studies can be of huge benefit to yourself and others. Before deciding to volunteer, do your own research. Your input is of immense value, so don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have to enable you to make your decision.