Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Arthritis Health Center

Font Size

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.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Today on WebMD

Mature woman exercise at home
Hint: Warming up first is crucial.
feet with gout
Quiz yourself.
woman in pain
One idea? Eat fish to curb inflammation.
senior couple walking
Can you keep your RA from progressing?
xray of knees with osteoarthritis
close up of man wearing dress shoes
feet with gout
close up of red shoe in shoebox
two male hands
Woman massaging her neck
5 Lupus Risk Factors