I have participated in a couple of medical clinical trials in the last decade at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The first clinical trial I participated in was for a new drug that was being tested to see if it was a viable for lowering blood pressure.
I was on blood pressure medication and my doctor wasn’t 100% pleased with the results, even after switching me to another blood pressure medicine. I had heard about the clinical trials at Pennington from ads on the radio. I decided to find out more about the clinical trial for blood pressure control after hearing the local advertisements for several days.
I called Pennington Biomedical to find out more about the clinical trial. I was asked to come in for screening to see if I would be a good candidate for the trial.
When I arrived at Pennington I checked in and was given several pages to fill out. This questionnaire basically asked about my current health, the medications I was currently taking and about my families’ medical history.
I was then taken to a room for a consultation with one of the assistants for this trial. I answered more questions and was then turned over to a nurse to get some other information such as my height, weight and take and record my blood pressure. That was the final part of the initial screening. I was told that my information would be passed along to one of the lead doctors and they would let me know if I qualified.
I received a phone call a couple of days later and was told that I was accepted in the clinical trial for lowering blood pressure with a new medication, but I needed my doctor’s approval for the study. I was asked if it was okay for them to call my doctor for authorization and was given an appointment for next week to come in for the next step in the study.
On my next visit I had another questionnaire to fill out. After this, I was sent to the lab to have blood drawn. Next, I talked to the assistant working on this clinical trial and was told that I would receive my clinical drug on my next visit the following week if my blood work came out okay. She also took my blood pressure to record for my chart.
On my third visit I sent directly to the lab. Fasting was required for each night prior to my appointments. After blood was drawn we could go to the main desk and get a Nature Valley Granola Bar if we wanted one. After blood work, you had another questionnaire to fill out that mainly asked if you felt ok in the past week while taking the clinical trial medication and any symptoms you may have had. The granola bars were a nice perk, since you had to stay at the clinic longer to talk to one of the assistants working on the clinical trial.
This clinical trial lasted for three months and the drug didn’t really help me. Who knows, I may have been given the placebo that is given to some participants.
If you are considering doing a clinical trial, be ready to be patient while at the clinic. The wait time can be long and varies from appointment to appointment. If you have a phobia to needles, do not sign up for a trial that requires multiple blood draws.
I later participated in another clinical trial for weight loss and enjoyed it very much. I had access to a nutritionist and learned how to choose better foods. Knowing that I was accountable for what I ate on this clinical trial probably worked as well as the clinical drug being tested. Some clinical trials even pay the participants a certain amount of money which is a nice perk.
I would highly recommend participating in a medical clinical trial if the results could improve your health.