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Clinical Trial vs. Treatment

Understanding the difference between clinical trials and medical treatments is critical. Medical care is intrinsically different from clinical research studies. Medical care is administered by doctors through a personal regimen that is specific to a patient and his or her condition. Clinical research studies follow a protocol that applies to all participants, whether it proves to be advantageous to a certain patient or not.

The public is unknowing of the inherent differences between medical treatments and clinical trials, and therefore, the two terms are often interchanged. Another term for clinical trial is experiment. Since clinical research studies are testing and developing the safety and efficacy of new drugs and treatments, their effectiveness is not known before the trial. As a participant, you play an integral role in determining whether these drugs are suitable for patients with the targeted condition on a mass level.

Clinical research studies are not personal treatments tailored to your medical condition, meaning that drugs have not yet been proven effective or safe for treating your specific type of condition. Even if the new drugs are proven effective during the study, you may not receive the treatment, as there is a control group in clinical trials that receives a placebo or standard treatment. Clinical research studies can be controlled, randomized and/or blinded, meaning there is no assurance that you will be receiving the new drug.

However, this does not mean you will not receive quality medical care as a participant in the trial. Nevertheless, it is imperative to remember that clinical trials are meant for research, not to administer proven effective medical care. By educating yourself on the differences between clinical trials and medical treatments, you can make the most informed – and best – decision for you and your health.

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