Pharmaceutical companies often sponsor clinical tests to gain FDA approval to market drugs, which have been tested on willing participants. It is hoped that through these tests medical knowledge about particular diseases will be enhanced. People participate in clinical studies for two reasons: reimbursement for time and travel; treatment for a medical problem they suffer from and are seeking assistance. I was immediately drawn to one for both reasons.
While watching an episode of a favorite program, I became intrigued by a commercial for a clinical test that was taking place in my vicinity. A medical group was asking women who suffered from varicose veins to call a number on the TV screen. I made an appointment to see if I qualified.
During this visit, I was informed of the length of the test, what type of procedures would take place, how often I would have to visit the medical office, and how much money I would be paid at the conclusion of the test. After signing the Consent Form, one of the doctors examined the back of both calves, looking for a vein that would benefit from the medical test. She found a fairly large vein on the back of my left calf. I was then sent down the hall to be photographed from the hips down. This would be the first of many visits that I would have to strip to just a pair of their special underclothing.
The following appointment was the beginning of a series of visits focusing on ultra sound images of my left leg. While one nurse took ultra sound pictures, another nurse squeezed various portions of my leg. Even though I was told little, it was obvious they were attempting to see how the blood flowed through these veins.
I charted the sensations I had in the left leg on a monitor that resembled a cell phone. For about two weeks prior to the treatment, and during two discontinuous sets of days, I answered questions on the monitor. I also did this on the 10 days prior to the one-year follow-up appointment.
This clinical test was a Blind study. For the blind portion, the principal doctor blind folded me and conducted the test, injecting something into the inner left thigh. I and other participants didn’t know then and even now don’t know whether we received the actual drug or a placebo.