So, you are considering participating in a medical clinical trial. They offer compensation for your time. They make it sound pretty good. You figure “Why not, I am not doing anything else”. I have been there and done that-twice.
About twelve years ago I read an advertisement in the local newspaper seeking participants for a clinical trial for acid reflux. My husband and I talked it over, and I made the call. I wanted all of the details. I wanted to make sure I was not getting into something that could be dangerous to me.
I didn’t just walk in the door and say “Hey I’m ready to do this”. I had to fill out a lot of forms, including a complete health history. Although it was a pain in the neck (I hate paperwork) I completely understood why it was necessary. Even though they needed me for the study they had to be sure I had the symptoms they were looking for. They also needed to know I was otherwise healthy enough to do the study. The last thing they want is to endanger you. When they told me I was accepted for the trial I didn’t know whether to be excited or scared.
I was then told I would be scheduled for an endoscope at a local hospital. Now, if they found anything serious during the endoscope I could be kicked out of the trial. The endoscope went well except for one thing. Apparently I have a bit of a reaction to the medication they use to make you sleep during the procedure. The medication made me itch all over as well as making me nauseous. Of course they had to give me more medication to counteract the side effects. The good news was I did not have any serious problems. That was good to know.
They scheduled my visits to the clinic for the trial. They told me to bring magazines to read because I would have to stay in a bed for six hours one day a week. The reason for staying in bed was because there would be monitors attached to me and I would not be able to move around. Except to go to the restroom. That in itself was an ordeal because they had to take the monitors off and then reattach them.
I arrived for my first day and they put me in my room and hooked me up to the monitors. Then they brought breakfast to me. I was thinking this was a pretty good set-up. That is until I took my first bite of the eggs. I thought they were going to come back up as quickly as they went down. The nurse was watching and saw the look on my face. She said she knew it was bad, but necessary. They put something on the eggs which would cause acid reflux or heartburn. The monitors picked up the gastric activity in your stomach and esophagus. I was not sure I wanted to go back after the first day. But, when I considered I was going to be paid $200.00 a week for six hours of my time-well the decision was pretty clear.
They sent medication and a log sheet home with me. I was instructed to take the medication daily and to faithfully fill out the log sheet in reference to my acid reflux. I was also told I could be taking either the real medication or a placebo. I was hoping it was the real medication as I was looking for something to take care of the acid reflux problem I had.
I made it through the full trial period-nasty tasting eggs and all. At the conclusion of the final day they handed me a check on the way out. I then asked if I was given the placebo or the medication and I was told they could give me that information until they completed the study. I was told I could call at a later date to find out.
I did eventually find out that I was given the medication instead of the placebo. Unfortunately they said the results were not positive enough for the medication to be produced and made available to patients. The funny thing was I did not have issues with acid reflux for about a year or so after I completed the study.
Are medical clinical trials worth the trouble? I think so. I do encourage anyone who is considering participating in one to research everything about it before you start. Check out the clinic doing the research as well. You certainly do not want to get involved with some fly-by-night quack. Even though the eggs were nasty and it was a long time before I could eat scrambled eggs again, it wasn’t a bad gig after all.