A Guide to Clinical Trials for Arthritis Patients
A clinical trial is a research study conducted with patients to evaluate a new arthritis treatment, drug, or device. The purpose of clinical trials is to find new and improved methods of treating arthritis.
Arthritis Research Starts in the Laboratory
Clinical trials make it possible to apply the latest scientific and technological advances in arthritis to patient care.
During a clinical trial, doctors use the best available arthritis treatment as a standard to evaluate new treatments. The new treatments are considered to be at least as effective or possibly more effective than the standard.
New treatment options are first researched in a laboratory where they are carefully studied in the test tube and in animals. Only the treatments most likely to work are further evaluated in a small group of humans prior to applying them in a larger clinical trial.
When a new arthritis treatment is studied for the first time in humans, it is not known exactly how it will work. With any new treatment, there are possible risks as well as benefits. Clinical trials help doctors discover the answers to the following questions:
- Is the treatment safe and effective?
- Is the treatment potentially better than the treatments currently available?
- What are the side effects of the treatment?
- Does the treatment have any possible risks?
- How well does the treatment work?
Phases of a Clinical Trial
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.