By Dr. Christopher Parker
Have you ever considered a clinical trial? They can be an important part of a patient’s gout treatment journey. Over the course of my career as a rheumatologist I have been involved in many trials, including one for an infused gout medication.
Benefits of Joining a Clinical Trial
There are three significant benefits of participating in a clinical trial:
- Patient care: If a patient is not responding to treatment or has limited treatment options, enrolling in a trial could be life changing. One of my patients and GSGA co-founder Gary Ho participated and has not had a flare in 13 years, thanks to the treatment he received from a trial.
- Financial: Patients enrolled in clinical trials receive treatment free of charge. This could be a good option for patients who don’t have insurance or whose insurance doesn’t adequately cover their treatment.
- Giving back: Joining a clinical trial offers an opportunity to not only improve one’s health but also to give back and further research for medications that could one day benefit many other patients.
Understanding Drawbacks & Eligibility
There can be some drawbacks to joining a clinical trial, such as the time required to participate, restrictions on other medications and other underlying health issues.
The best way to understand if you are eligible is to talk about the trial and your medical history with your doctor. He or she will help you determine whether the trial is right for you.
If you are concerned about working and the time it takes to participate in a trial, you could also discuss the possibility with your employer. These tips can help you get that conversation started.
Discussing Trials with Patients
I only discuss clinical trials on an individual basis with patients when I see the need. If a patient struggles with managing their gout, I like to mention clinical trials as an option for treatment.
New, innovative options can give patients a positive outlook on gout management. Hope is an important part of the equation.
It’s also important that patients never feel pressured to join a trial. I always set practical expectations and explain the clinical trial process. If a patient decides to enroll in a clinical trial, I act as a support system throughout their clinical trial journey.
Advice for Patients
My advice for patients who are considering a trial?
Don’t decide in the moment.
I encourage patients to view the opportunity as a fact-finding mission. Take some time to read about the trial, talk to your doctor, and come to a decision after careful consideration.
Interested in getting involved in a trial? Make sure to talk to your doctor about it. If you want to learn more about ongoing clinical trials in gout, visit the GSGA Research Page.
Have you been involved in a trial? Let us know! If you would like to share your clinical trial experience, contact Kimberly Serota at firstname.lastname@example.org.