Your Child in a Clinical Study

April 22, 2009

childatdoctor1Did you know that children are some of the most needed and important participants in clinical trials? Children have a unique make-up and respond differently to treatment than adults. Doctors have discovered that it is dangerous to translate medicines proven effective in adults to children. It is not enough to simply change the dosage; children need unique medications and treatments created especially for them.

It is in the creation of these unique medications and treatments that clinical trials come into play. Clinical Studies are the best way that we have to make sure that a medical treatment is safe and effective. Clinical Research is sometimes the only way that researchers can discover what works in children and what doesn’t. Clinical trials are especially useful with rare diseases in children where no treatments or cures have been found.

Have you ever considered that your child may be prescribed a drug never before tested on children? Many medications given to children produce different side effects than they do in adults. Until recently, very little research has been done on kids for the drugs they take or may take in the future. Often they are given drugs that have only been tested on adults. In fact, approximately 70 percent of prescribed drugs for children have never been tested on children.

Children’s bodies are constantly changing and developing. We have to understand how a body that is growing will respond to drugs. We all must understand that in order to benefit from medicines that are effective in children, we must test them on children.

In addition to potentially helping your own child by exposing them to the newest technologies and medication, you child’s participation in a clinical trial can help many other children in the future beat serious diseases and illnesses.

There is no reason to worry about your child’s participation in a clinical study. At no other time will they have as many safeguards on their well-being as they do during a clinical trial. Researchers are just as concerned about your child’s safety as you are.

Finally, before enrolling your child in a study, remember that you are your child’s advocate. Feel free to ask any questions of the researchers and doctors in charge. Getting the answers to your questions will help both you and your child feel more at ease. Also, researchers depend on parents to be aware of how children are responding to clinical treatments. It is important to be aware of any changes and to report them immediately to the researcher or doctor in charge.

Much of the material from this post was taken from this insightful video from the National Institutes of Health. Click here to view video.