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Schizophrenia and Clinical Trials:
A Chance for New Hope
By Hilary Wright, Staff Writer

(Page 2 of 2)

A person will be accepted into the clinical trial once they have received a study-related medical evaluation and a diagnosis is made. After passing the evaluation and diagnosis procedures, it will be time for you and your loved one to ask important questions regarding all aspects of the clinical trial. Once enrolled, the trial will begin with a study-related physical exam, study medication, laboratory tests, and any necessary procedures that are required. During the course of the clinical trial, medical professionals will meet with your loved one on a regular basis in order to monitor their progress and to look for signs of either improvement or problems.

Some very important things that to remember when accepted into a clinical trial:

  • It is very important to take all medicine as directed by the medical staff
    during the clinical trial; even if the participant doesn't feel as though the     medicine is working, encourage them to stick to the program.

  • Make sure that he or she is aware of all the benefits as well as the possible risks associated with the clinical trial, and that they are able to comprehend this  information. 

  • The clinical trial will last as long as symptom do not worsen.

  • The length of the clinical trial will also depend upon the side effects that are experienced.

  • Once the clinical trial has been completed, he or she will be followed by
    the clinical trial doctor and staff for updates on their overall well-being.

  • A supply of the study drug will be given either at their doctor's office or it can be  filled at the local pharmacy. 

  • If any mental or physical side effects are experienced, call their doctor; these professionals can be called at any time, and it  is extremely important that they are told of any possible problems, even if you donít think it's related to the study medication.  

  • Your loved one may be asked to bring their bottles of medication belonging to the study to each of their visits with the clinical trial team.

  • When participating in a clinical trial, a "visit" schedule must be followed       where the clinical trial team monitors the participants well-being, in order to evaluate whether the treatment seems to be working.

  • There will be a schedule to follow regarding when they are to have             important blood tests done; these can be weekly, or every few weeks, and will  be monitored by both their regular doctor and by the clinical trial doctor.

At these scheduled visits, itís important that your loved one:

  • report any symptoms that have been experienced since starting the study or any changes in symptoms that were reported at previous visits.

  • report any other medications taken since starting the study or any changes in medication that were reported at previous visits.

  • complete as much information needed on any questionnaires about health and overall well-being.

  • expect that blood will be drawn for routine laboratory tests.

As always, itís extremely important that the trial volunteer take the medication from the clinical trial as directed. They also need to report any side effects experienced at any time, so that the clinical trial doctor will know as soon as possible in order to give appropriate medical attention if necessary. If they are able to successfully stick to the routine of a clinical trial, you may be nicely surprised to find your loved one is receiving the most promising care available to date, and that the schizophrenia will begin to have less and less control over everyoneís lives.

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