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Parkinson's Disease Health Center

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Clinical Trials for Parkinson's Disease

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How Does the Clinical Trial Process Work? continued...

Phase II clinical trials determine the effectiveness of the research treatment on the disease or condition being evaluated.

Phase III clinical trials compare the new treatment with the standard treatment.

Phase IV clinical trials apply the new treatment to patient care. For example, a new drug that was found effective in a clinical trial may then be used together with other effective drugs to treat the particular disease or special condition in a select group of patients.

What Are the Advantages of Participating in a Clinical Trial?

The advantages of participating in a clinical trial include the following:

  • Clinical trials make it possible to apply the latest scientific and technological advances to patient care.
  • You may receive a new treatment before it is widely available to the public.
  • You can help to provide researchers with information they need to continue developing new procedures and introducing new treatment methods, for your benefit and to benefit others.
  • Your treatment costs may be decreased, since many of the tests and doctor visits that are directly related to the clinical trial are paid for by the company or agency sponsoring the study. Be sure to discuss your treatment costs with the doctors and nurses conducting the clinical trial.

What Are the Disadvantages of Participating in a Clinical Trial?

  • Because the drug or device being studied is new, all of the risks and side effects of the treatment are not known at the beginning of the clinical trial. There may be unknown side effects (as well as hoped-for benefits). Patients will be informed of any known side effects they could experience, as well as any side effects that occur or become known while they are participating in the trial.
  • It is also important that you realize that if you participate in a clinical trial you may be given a placebo, which is a sugar pill containing no medicine. These tablets are used to determine if the real treatment is really working effectively. Trials are conducted in such a way that you will not be told if you're getting the real treatment or a "fake" treatment.
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