Clinical Trials: Are They Safe?

When we hear about experimental drugs and human testing, it invokes thoughts of science experiments gone wrong, resulting in horrific deformities or incurable conditions. However, there is no way around it—if a new treatment is going to hit the market, it will need to undergo testing. And yes, some of that testing will need to be done on human subjects! Human testing is known as a clinical trial, and it is a necessary part of any drug development.

Clinical Trials

Understanding Clinical Trials

When an experimental drug is ready to undergo clinical testing, it has already undergone animal testing, and the Food and Drug Administration has declared it safe for human trials. The next step involves recruiting a certain number of human volunteers. Under the supervision of the researchers, these volunteers will take a prescribed dosage of the drug. Side effects will be documented. Then its effectiveness will be tested. These phases of the clinical testing process often raise many questions: How safe is it? What are the risks? Should I avoid volunteering?

The Dangers

When you volunteer for a clinical trial, you will be informed that there are some risks involved. However, the researchers will be unable to provide you with more information on what these risks might entail. Prior to clinical trials, the risks remain unknown.

If the trial is in an early phase, you will need to be aware of the fact that the risks involved are considerably higher. Again, this is because the drug’s side effects on humans are not yet known.

When these side effects do reveal themselves, they might be mild. However, they could put participants in danger, especially if they have a condition that is found to be incompatible with the drug. Additionally, if you happen to suffer from unpleasant side effects, this may mean many visits to the doctor’s office—or even to the emergency room. While the chance of experiencing such serious side effects is low, it is always a possibility.

The Benefits

In many cases, people who volunteer to take part in a clinical trial are aware of the dangers. It becomes a matter of weighing the dangers against the benefits, which is something you must do for yourself. Keep in mind that you should not feel obligated to volunteer if it makes you uncomfortable to do so.

If you do choose to volunteer for a clinical trial, you may end up enabling the approval and production of a very beneficial drug. This drug could help people all over the world who suffer with an otherwise untreatable condition. Additionally, the drug could help improve the quality of life of either yourself or a loved one.

So, Will You Be Safe?

Ultimately, the safety of an individual in any clinical trial cannot be guaranteed. It depends entirely upon the drug, the conditions under which it is being tested, and any underlying conditions you yourself may have. Know that there are risks—but know that there are extreme benefits as well. It is a personal choice that cannot be made for you. However, visiting clinical research sites such as will help you make a properly informed decision.

Alex Christo is blogger who writes for quite a few different topics that all fall under his interests and knowledge, such as Gardening, fishing, music and technology, travel amongst others. Currently residing in Thailand he is travelling and gaining new experiences from the world.