By Megan Bishop and Ashling Smith, Clinical Research Coordinators
Become a hero!
Behind the launch of every new medication and treatment that becomes available to prolong or improve our lives are people like you who gave the gift of their time to participate in a clinical trial. Clinical trials are an essential step in proving the efficacy and safety of any medicine or treatment approved for widespread use in the United States. Arthritis and Rheumatism Associates is pleased to be part of the never-ending search for better therapies through The Center for Rheumatology and Bone Research (CRBR). We began participating in clinical trials in 1982 and have since helped evaluate new drugs for a wide range of rheumatological conditions.
Your ARA physician may invite you to participate in a clinical trial to potentially give you access to a drug that he or she thinks may benefit you. Naturally, many questions might run through your mind:
• Is the drug being tested safe?
• Will it make me feel better?
• Could it have side effects or make me feel worse?
• How does a clinical trial work?
• Do I qualify to participate in a clinical trial?
If you meet the predetermined criteria and wish to learn more, you will be seen in a treatment room just like any other in the practice except it will be located in the CRBR. You will be greeted by a clinical research coordinator who will welcome you to our study department. The coordinator will explain exactly how the study is being performed and what to expect during your study visits. Along with a physician, the study coordinator will answer any questions you may have. You will be given an Informed Consent document to read that explains your duties as a study participant and advises you of all of the potential benefits and side effects of the medications you might be given. The study coordinator and an ARA physician will help you decide whether or not to participate. If you elect to participate, the study coordinator will ask you to sign the Informed Consent.
If you enroll in the study, you may be asked periodically to complete some clinical questionnaires to assess how you feel and determine how you are progressing on the investigational medicine. One difference you may notice immediately is how meticulously the research team takes notes, records measurements and explains what is happening. You likely will be relieved to learn that your regular ARA physician is an important part of the research team and remains involved in your care. You also may be happy to learn that in most cases the study covers the costs of the medication, your office visits and lab work.
Should you decide to participate, you will not just be helping yourself. You will be contributing to the development of therapies that have the potential to help many others in the future. A study is a wonderful opportunity to get involved, for your own health and for the progress of medicine. Currently, we are enrolling clinical research trials for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and hip, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, axial spondyloarthritis and undifferentiated spondyloarthropathies, and Sjögren’s syndrome.
Please contact The Center for Rheumatology and Bone Research at (301) 942-6610 to determine whether you may be eligible to participate in one of our clinical trials. Be a hero!