4 Reasons to Participate in a Clinical Trial

Life often feels busy, and even more so when you struggle to make ends meet. As you balance work, home life, schooling, and community activities, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Still, certain types of activities help you accomplish more than one thing at a time, and these are the types of things worth investing your time in.

While selling plasma, participating in multi-level marketing, or even obtaining a temporary paycheck loan will all help you make a quick buck, there are other ways to supplement your income. Whether you need money for school, entertainment, or just to put food on the table, consider an option that will benefit you in multiple ways.

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What to Bring for Overnight Clinical Trials

You’re about to embark on an adventure that will advance research in the medical community. A clinical  trial has accepted you as a participant, and you have a single overnight stay or several of them in front of you. How do you pack for one of these clinical trials so that you can feel comfortable throughout the
process?

Think of your clinical trial experience as a brief stint at a boarding school or a short business trip at a hotel. You do not need to bring your entire wardrobe or every book you own. Keep your packing list short and simple.

If you need help prioritizing what goes in your suitcase, have a look at the packing lists below.

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How Clinical Trials Are Helping in the Fight Against Cancer

We all know someone who has had cancer, or who is still experiencing its hazardous effects. With the exception of heart disease, cancer is the most common cause of death in the United States.

In fact, nearly 600,000 Americans are expected to die of cancer in 2015. Between 2004 and 2010, the  survival rate for those diagnosed with cancer was 68%. While the survival rate for Americans with cancer continues to increase, it’s important to keep looking for better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat the disease.

The recent improvements in these survival rates comes from earlier diagnoses and improved treatments. One specific way that treatments improve comes in the form of clinical trials.

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4 Questions to Consider Before You Participate in a Clinical

After browsing available clinical trials in your area, you’ve found one that looks right for you. You qualify for the physical requirements: you have the right BMI, age, gender, and lifestyle. And your doctor gave his or her full approval for your participation.

But before you complete the necessary paperwork for the trial, take a few moments to prepare yourself mentally for the procedure and ask the following questions.

1. Why Do I Want to Participate in a Clinical Trial?

You can participate in clinical trials for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Supplemental income. Some clinical trials offer compensation for your time and effort.
  • Desire to improve medical knowledge. Clinical trials give in-depth insight into medicine and science. Your participation helps future generations respond better to illnesses and disease.
  • Access to new treatments. If you have a medical condition, a clinical trial could give you access to the latest advancements in medication and therapy. These treatments could potentially alleviate side effects or cure conditions more quickly.
  • Positive past experiences. If you’ve previously participated in a clinical trial, you may have enjoyed the social interaction with the research team. Many patients who participate in clinical trials willingly try them again after a good experience.

As you ready yourself for the upcoming procedures, make sure you feel completely comfortable with your reasons. You may need to remind yourself why you initially wanted to participate in a clinical trial should you experience unpleasant side effects or disappointing results.

2. Do I Have Realistic Expectations or Goals?

When you sign up for a trial, you may have specific goals in mind. For example, if you wanted access to new treatments, you may envision fewer side effects than your current medication. Or perhaps you hope that the therapy will cure your condition completely.

But remember that clinical trials can’t always live up to your expectations. You may receive a placebo instead of the new treatment. Or your condition might worsen for a few weeks before you notice any improvements. Perhaps you won’t notice any changes in your condition at all.

As you prepare mentally, keep an open mind and a positive attitude. Even if you don’t personally see the results you want, your participation will pave the way for future trials and better methods.

3. Have I Fully Weighed the Risks With the Benefits?

Clinical trials offer plenty of benefits. For instance:

  • You may play an active role in improving your health care.
  • You may receive expert medical care free of cost.
  • You may help others who have serious medical conditions.
  • You may increase the number of available treatments for your condition.

However, clinical trials also have their downsides:

  • You may experience unknown side effects or risks.
  • You might not notice any improvements in your current condition.
  • You might have to adjust your schedule to accommodate testing.

Typically, the clinical trial’s benefits outweigh the risks, but they may change according to your situation. When you list the pros and cons of the trial with your current lifestyle, you can make the smart decision about whether you should proceed with the treatment(s).

4. Do I Understand the Procedures Involved?

Clinical trial procedures vary widely depending on the drug, therapy, or test groups involved. Some trials may require blood and urine samples for analysis. Others may require that you stay overnight at a research facility for close observation.

Carefully read the requirements for the study to ensure that you understand what the researchers want you to do. If the instructions or procedures don’t seem clear, ask a professional to walk you through the process.

I Feel Ready: Now What?

If you’ve carefully considered the above questions and you feel completely ready to participate, talk to your doctor or the staff at a local research center. From there, these professionals can help you fill out the necessary paperwork and give you additional instruction to prepare for the trial.

Volunteer Work for Medical Students: Where and Why

You’ve heard the advice again and again: “Include volunteer work on your résumé and school applications.”

But you’re interested in a career in the medical field, and Habit for Humanity just doesn’t seem like the best place for you to volunteer. And why do you need to do volunteer work anyway?

In this blog, we discuss why you should volunteer and where you can spend your volunteering time wisely as a future medical professional.

Why Should You Volunteer?

There are plenty of reasons to list volunteer work on your résumés or school applications. It looks good when you can show that you’ll do quality work without needing a monetary incentive.

Other reasons to perform and record volunteering experience include:

Initiative

Volunteering shows initiative and independence. Employers and schools want to know you can work on your own and figure things out without asking excessive questions.

Well-Rounded

Volunteering exposes you to people and places you wouldn’t otherwise encounter in your daily life. This makes you a more well-rounded individual who could contribute to the workplace or classroom in a meaningful way.

Communication Skills

Again, because volunteering exposes you to different people, you’re forced to hone your communication skills. This could be through another language or through body language.

Leadership Skills

Chances are, your volunteer opportunities will force you to make some decisions on your own. Plenty of volunteer experiences place you in a leadership position that will help hone those skills.

Team-Building Skills

In any volunteer experience, you’ll join a group of people who are all working towards a common goal. Most workplaces and classrooms value teamwork, but especially those in the medical field.

Experience in Unfamiliar Areas

Chances are, even if you are going into the medical field, you haven’t had much experience in a hospital or a similar environment. Volunteering in these unfamiliar areas will help you understand what to expect later on in your career.

Where Should You Volunteer?

A range of volunteer opportunities are available to you. Some may take up more of your time, while others may take you outside of your comfort zone. From opportunities right in your hometown to ones cross the globe, you can volunteer anywhere, including:

Retirement/Nursing Homes

One of the most obvious places to put your medical skills to work is in a retirement or nursing home. This area may test your people skills more than your medical skills, but people skills will prove just as important in your future career.

Red Cross

The American Red Cross offers extensive volunteer opportunities, from helping people sign up for blood drives to grant writing. Whatever talents you want to work on, the Red Cross probably has a position for you.

Hospitals

From working at the hospital café to shadowing a doctor, hospitals also provide a wide range of opportunities to help your skills and experiences. Ask what’s available and see what works best for you.

Research Facilities/Clinical Trials

Whether you’re helping scientists with paperwork or participating in a clinical trial as a patient, these opportunities look excellent on your résumé or application and provide interesting, hands-on experiences.

Projects Abroad

Medical projects abroad represent some of the most challenging yet most rewarding volunteer experiences. You’ll work with cultures, people, and diseases you’re completely unfamiliar with and learn an incredible amount.

Other Opportunities

If there are other skills or opportunities you want to hone that have nothing to do with the medical field, don’t hesitate. There’s no need to limit yourself to volunteer experiences that directly relate to your future career. In fact, you may want to take that Habitat for Humanity opportunity after all-you’ll
still learn positive leadership, teamwork, and communication skills.

Whether you want to be a pharmacist or a brain surgeon, there’s a volunteer opportunity out there for you.  Do some research. Call your local hospital or search online for a clinical trial nearby. An experience you’ll never forget is waiting.

Don’t Let These Myths Stop You From Participating in Clinical Trials

Many people appreciate that researchers conduct clinical trials before releasing a new drug. These studies ensure that people who take new medication experience the most benefits with the fewest side effects.

However, many people also fail to fully understand what happens during a clinical trial. And with a lack of understanding, they often spread false rumors and misconceptions, which in turn, deter people from  participating in those trials.

To help clear any potential confusion you may have about these studies, take a look at the following myths and facts.

Myth: Clinical Trials Are Only for Terminal Patients With No Other Options.

Although some clinical trials do focus on terminally ill patients, many studies also involve completely healthy individuals. Researchers need participants from all walks of life who practice a variety of  lifestyles. The larger the sampling of adults, the more accurate the study results.

Furthermore, many individuals who don’t respond well to their typical treatments may consider seeking out clinical trial medication in addition to other available therapies. For example, a manufacturer may offer a  promising new drug that improves upon a patient’s current medication. If a patient takes the drug early in  the illness, the ingredients may have a greater likelihood of producing the promised results.

Myth: Clinical Trials Are Dangerous, and Researchers Treat You Like a Guinea Pig.

True, some new medications do result in negative side effects. And in earlier phases of clinical trials, researchers might not know the full effects a drug may have on an individual.

But this doesn’t mean that clinical trials will necessarily compromise your health. Healthcare professionals follow strict safety and regulatory measures to help insure you stay as healthy and comfortable as possible during a study. Researchers will monitor you closely and regularly to assess risks before they become problems.

If side effects do occur, your doctor may recommend adjusting your medication during the trial. And if necessary, he or she may insist that you drop out of the trial completely.

Myth: You Can’t Take Your Usual Medication During a Clinical Trial.

Certain medications interact with others to cause negative side effects. While some side effects may only result in mild irritation, others could lead to ingredient overdose or serious complications and put your life on the line. These interactions could happen with both FDA-approved medications and clinical trial supplements.

To promote safety, some researchers insist that eligible participants must not take any medications.  Without other drugs to interfere, researchers can focus solely on the effects the single drug has on the body.

But these scenarios don’t apply to every clinical trial. Depending on the phase of the trial as well as the drug or therapy involved, researchers may insist that you take your usual medication so they can study the above interactions. In some cases, your medication may even enhance the benefits you receive from the clinical trial product.

Myth: You Can’t Participate in Future Trials If You Are Ineligible for One Trial.

Each clinical trial has its own criteria for eligibility. For example, one trial may focus on patients with renal failure who have a BMI between 19 and 38. Another trial may only want healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 30. And other trial may request that participants be female with no history of smoking.

If you don’t qualify for one trial, you may be eligible for another. To see if you pre-qualify for clinical studies in your area, contact your local research center.

Have Additional Questions or Concerns?

These are just some of the many myths and misconceptions you may encounter regarding clinical trials. If you still feel confused or if you have additional questions about studies in your area, talk to your doctor, check out a clinical research organization in your area, or browse our blog for more information.

In a Bind? 5 Ways to Supplement Your Income

Most of the time, your regular job meets your needs. You have enough to pay the bills, buy groceries, and meet your mortgage.

But every once in a while, you have an emergency. Your car breaks down. Your water heater springs a leak. Or your child drops your phone in the toilet.

These emergencies sap your savings and leave you scrambling to keep up with your financial demands. So how can you make money on the side during tough times?

1. Raid the Toy Box

Your children grow up far too fast, and more often than not, they outgrow their toys, too. If you have a toy box gathering dust, or even a changing table you no longer need, sell these gently used items online to earn a little extra cash.

And if you still have some of your own childhood toys lying around, check the price tag on eBay. Some ’80s and ’90s toys sell for hundreds-if not thousands-of dollars to collectors. For example, a Pokemon Charizard card could easily sell for over $5,000, while a Gameboy Color could rake in $1,600. A complete Hot Wheels collection could even bring in a whopping $20,000.

2. Become a Chauffeur

As a parent, you may already drive your kids to every extracurricular activity under the sun. Between dance classes, soccer practice, and voice lessons, you have to make a trip across town multiple times a day. Why not use your miles to your advantage?

Ride sharing services such as Uber, Lyft, and Zimride let you earn money while you drive. Your clients request that you drop them off or pick them up via their smartphone apps, and then you set your own fees and payments for the service.

Keep in mind that some locations ban specific ride-sharing services, so do a little research before you allow passengers in your vehicle.

3. Offer Your Unusual Talents

If you have a knack for singing in a hot dog costume or grilling the perfect cheese sandwich, put those skills to work on Fiverr.com. Fiverr lets you sell goods and services for $5 a pop, though you can find additional ways to up your price.

For example, you could offer to edit a homework assignment for $5. But for an additional $15 you could offer fact-checking and format it in APA style.

Can’t get enough gigs through Fiverr alone? Alternative websites include FiverUp, GigBucks, Zeerk, SEOClerks, and TenBux.

4. Evaluate Websites and Search Results

Search engines rely on complicated algorithms to decide which results you see whenever you type in the search box. But these algorithms aren’t perfect, so Google, Yahoo, Bing! and other search engines need you to judge results for quality, usefulness, and relevancy.

To supplement your income, become an independent search engine evaluator through websites such as Leapforce, Lionbridge, and Appen Butler Hill. These companies let you work from home, but you will have to track your hours and manage your own taxes.

5. Participate in a Clinical Trial

If you live a healthy lifestyle, don’t take any medications, and maintain a healthy weight, you could participate in a clinical trial. Many clinic trials offer compensation for your time, though the amount varies depending on the phase of the trial.

Phase 1 trials, for example, typically offer the most pay, sometimes thousands of dollars, which varies and is determined by the design of the study.  But these trials also happen during the earliest stages of research, when side effects and risks are least understood. Phase 4 trials, in contrast, offer the least compensation. But phase 4 trials also have the fewest risks, so choose what makes you feel most comfortable.

Try any of these methods to see what works for you. You may find that your supplemental income could soon become your main financial source.

 

Informed Consent: Reading and Understanding Clinical Trial Consent Forms

The first time you participate in a clinical trial, you may feel nervous. For many participants, this uneasiness often stems from the unknown they initially face. The organization that runs the trial educate you so you know what to expect, from which items you can bring with you to how long the trial will last.

The clinic or trial coordinators also provide a legally binding consent form. You must read and sign this form before you can begin the clinical trial.

But paperwork often feels intimidating, especially if it’s written in a format that’s unfamiliar to you or contains words you don’t know. In this blog, we give you the knowledge you need to read and understand a consent form, so when you sign you can give confident, full, and informed consent.

Anatomy of a Consent Form

Consent forms for clinical trial participants contain several required sections. While you may see these segments under different names on some consent forms, you should find sections on the following information.

Alternative Treatments

The consent form may list alternatives to the treatment you’ll receive during the clinical trial. Organizers give this information in the interest of fully informing you of your options.

Benefits

While clinical trials cannot guarantee specific benefits, the consent form may contain potential benefits of participation.

Confidentiality

All clinical trials keep your information confidential. Most consent forms include a section detailing how the trial coordinators your information.

Contact Information

Each consent form includes all the contact information you need to communicate with the study’s staff.

Procedure

The procedure section lays out what actions the study requires on your part, including number of clinic visits and frequency of medication doses.

Purpose

The purpose section outlines what the organizer hopes to achieve from the study. This section also includes basic information about the medication or treatment being studied.

Risks and Discomforts

An organizer must disclose any potential side effects and risks of a clinical trial. The risks and discomforts section includes every known potential side effect, even if the chances of you experiencing it are small.

How to Read a Consent Form

Before you read through the consent form in its entirety, try to identify and mark each of the sections listed above. This step lets you reference the information at any time during your reading.

As you read, you may find the following tactics useful in simplifying and explaining the information the form contains.

Speaking to Study Staff

Many consent forms are written at a college reading level and contain a number of medical terms. You may also see unfamiliar terms defined within the text. If at any time when reading you don’t understand a portion of the form, ask the staff to explain.

Taking Adequate Time

Set aside some free time to read the consent form thoroughly. If you skim over the paperwork, you may miss information relevant to your decision.

Underlining or Highlighting

If you are allowed to write on the form, you may find it useful to underline or highlight sections that confuse you, important terms, or other significant elements.

Use this knowledge to ensure you feel completely comfortable giving your consent before you participate in a study. Clinical trials adhere to strict standards to make them as safe, accurate, and efficient as possible. However, not every trial you qualify for will suit your life situation, health concerns, or schedule.

Remember, informed consent in clinical trials represents an ongoing requirement. You can revoke your consent at any time. However, if you begin to consider this option at any time, feel free to talk to the study staff first. The staff can answer any questions you may have to ensure that you don’t miss out on an opportunity due to a misunderstanding of any kind.

 

 

Different Compensation Types for Clinical Research Trials at Quintiles

As a part-time employee, you know your tight budget doesn’t allow you to do much other than pay for basic necessities. Or, if unfortunate circumstances outside of your control caused you to become unemployed, you understand that every penny counts. You spend time looking for full-time work, but you need some way to supplement your income in the meantime.

You’ve heard that clinical research trials may pay individuals for their participation. You’ve looked through different trials available through Quintiles, but you aren’t sure exactly how you’ll be compensated for your time.

Below, we’ll discuss how you may typically receive payment when you volunteer for a clinical trial.

First Things First—Apply for a Study

Before you can collect earnings for participating in any of our studies, you must first sign up for one and stay qualified. Hopeful trial volunteers must fill out an application—either over the phone or through mail, fax, or email—and submit a complete medical history.

After the application process, you’ll meet with a Quintiles representative. At this appointment, you undergo screening and assessments for the following:

  • Informed Consent
  • Medical History
  • Vitals including pulse and blood pressure
  • BMI (a measurement using your height and weight)
  • Urine sample
  • Blood sample
  • Physical assessment by a physician

Between three and five days after this initial appointment, our team will contact you with your test results. At this time, we’ll also tell you which trials you may qualify for.

After we invite you to participate in one of our trials, read through our blog on how to prepare to participate in clinical studies. Follow these guidelines to ensure you stay qualified for the trial. You can also use these tips to prepare for additional research studies in the future.

Types of Payment for Clinical Trials

Once you know if you can volunteer for a clinical trial, your next thought turns to payment. Here, we’ll tell you about two different forms of compensation you receive after you participate in our clinical trials.

Compensation For Your Participation

The most common form of compensation is for your involvement in a study. Note that payment amounts differ based on certain factors, including:

  • Type of study. Some trials pay more than others depending on what conditions the researchers study. Additionally, clinical trials run through several phases, so some portions of a study may provide higher compensation than others.
  • Length of time. Like traditional jobs, you’ll receive compensation based on the amount of time you spend with us. For example, if you spend one week in our facility, you may receive a higher payment than a volunteer who stays with us for two days.
  • In-house vs. outpatient studies. Since in-house trials require more time from you as the volunteer, these study types tend to compensate more. Outpatient studies only last for a few hours, so you don’t have to spend as much time away from work or other obligations. As a result, outpatient trials typically pay less.

For specific questions about payment amounts, ask one of our friendly staff members when we call you with your test results and before the trial begins.

Payment for Referrals

If you don’t qualify for or have time to participate in our clinical research trials, you can still supplement your income. Since most people don’t know which studies are available and when each occurs, Quintiles offers a referral program.

This program not only allows us to find additional study participants, but also compensates you for recommending your friends and colleagues to our facility. Visit our referral program page to learn more about this process.

As you consider participating in clinical trials to supplement your income, keep these forms of compensation in mind. If you have any other questions regarding payment, contact a Quintiles representative.

Clinical Trials, Endpoints, and Regulation

We’ve discussed in other blogs the importance of clinical trials in the process of approving drugs for public use. After an idea develops in the lab and goes through animal testing, it then requires human testing. This is where clinical trials come in.

Clinical trials provide many people with supplemental income in a short period of time. But how can you be sure that the trial you part icipate in is safe, ethical, and approved by the appropriate governing bodies?

This blog will help you determine the answer to such questions by addressing the basic trial process and its regulation. To better understand this process, we must first explain what a clinical trial is at its most basic function.

What is a Clinical Trial?

A clinical trial represents the final step in a long and careful search for knowledge. Clinical trials often start with small groups, progressing to larger sample sizes. These research studies explore the safety and efficacy of a medical treatment, device, or strategy.

These studies might also show which particular medical approach applies best to a specific group. Sample groups vary based on age, sex, race, and existing medical conditions.

Later phases of a clinical trial use research results to show risks or benefits of a new medical approach, and findings often include the following elements:

  • Improved patient outcomes
  • No apparent effect or benefit
  • Undesired patient outcomes

By using these results, researchers can advance medical knowledge about a strategy, treatment, or device in order to improve patient care.

FDA Approval

Not all studies require FDA approval, which is why you should always read the study risks and benefits before participating. By law, participants in a clinical trial are required to receive an explicit document containing the risks, benefits, and explanation of the study.

Make sure to read this document carefully in order to ascertain whether a study is right for you. This document will also help you determine whether a study is ethical, well researched, unbiased, and safe to participate in.

Studies or clinical trials hosted by legitimate researching firms and organizations will always provide such a document and will also allow you to cease participation at any time. By following these standards, clinical trials maintain legitimacy and appropriate standards given by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

As mentioned, not every study must have FDA pre-approval. But if a particular study is backed and supported by the FDA, it will state this information on the document you sign before participating.

The Importance of Endpoints

If you’re concerned with how the researchers will end up framing a study’s results, learn about and examine the endpoints of the clinical trial.

Endpoints refer to specific outcomes, measured by the researchers conducting the study. For example, studies for cancer treatment have endpoints that consist of:

  • Response
  • Survival
  • Progression and disease-free survival
  • Quality of life

As a general rule, all clinical trials observe and evaluate three specific results: objective, subjective, and health-related outcomes.

A trial that uses subjective measures for an endpoint tends to focus on symptom scores, or the number of participants who exhibited a certain symptom and their need for resulting counter-medication. Researchers also observe and measure the quality of life in these cases.

Researchers use objective measures to ascertain how effective certain medications are. To make certain of these results, researchers focus on organ function, patient responsiveness, and adverse effects.

Studies or clinical trials that measure primary or secondary health outcomes use “health-related” endpoints, so they focus on resulting reactions. Researchers sometimes monitor these reactions years after testing a certain drug treatment or strategy.

Participant Awareness

As a participant in a clinical trial, you can find assurance by seeking after this information in your provided participant approval document. If you cannot access the information you desire, your trial conductor will happily answer any questions.

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