What to Expect When You Volunteer for a Mental Health Clinical Trial

May 16, 2024
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When you struggle with mental health issues but aren’t responding to your current medication, you may benefit by volunteering for a clinical trial. In clinical trials, you get access to the latest medications, without charge. Here’s what to expect.

Clinical research trials are large-scale studies that pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, the government, or universities conduct to test the efficacy of new medications, therapies, or other interventions. 

The FDA must approve clinical trials before they go forward to ensure that they’re safe and needed.

At Precise Research Centers, our founder, Joseph Kwentus, MD, runs clinical trials for mental health issues at our offices in Flowood, Mississippi. If you’re frustrated by your current medication and therapeutic choices, you may benefit from cutting-edge therapies offered by clinical trials.

What can you expect when you volunteer for a mental health clinical trial? Here is a brief summary.

You go through an assessment

When you become curious about participating in a clinical trial to evaluate new medications or interventions, the first step is to call our office. We conduct ongoing clinical trials for a wide variety of mental health issues.

First, we ask you to come to the office for an interview and examination. We look at your personal and family medical histories, conduct a thorough physical, and ask you questions about your current medications, any frustrations you may have, and your goals for treatment.

You must commit

If you’re accepted into a clinical trial, you must be willing to commit for the length of the trial, barring any adverse events. In addition to taking the medication or using the medical device, you may need to keep a diary of your symptoms and reactions.

We also schedule follow-up evaluations that you must attend. During these follow-ups, we may take blood tests, conduct other tests, and interview you to determine compliance, assess efficacy, and identify any possible side effects.

However, if for any reason you decide not to participate in the trial anymore, you can withdraw. You won’t continue to receive the free medication or treatment if you withdraw from the trial. 

You may get a placebo

Participating in a clinical trial can be exciting and is a major contribution to scientific research. The medications or devices you test may end up revolutionizing treatments and prognoses for numerous individuals who suffer from the same illness.

However, clinical trials require that some patients receive a placebo instead of active medication or a working device. 

A placebo arm to a clinical trial is important so we can evaluate whether the new drug or intervention works better than the placebo. Sometimes just believing that you’re getting a new drug will actually make you feel better.

If you receive a placebo and the trial ends up proving that the medication or device is effective, you can receive the active therapy and its benefits after the trial concludes. Also, by participating in the placebo arm, you’ve provided essential information that will benefit patients around the world.

You don’t pay for treatments

When you’re a volunteer in a clinical trial, you don’t pay for the medications or devices you use, even if they cost thousands of dollars. All of the examinations, medical support, and therapies you receive as part of the trial are also provided at no cost to you.

Because you suffer from a mental health disorder, you receive cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or other therapeutic support during the trial. Again, you don’t pay for the therapy you receive. You may even be paid for your time, travel, or other expenses related to the trial. 

Clinical trials vary in length

The length of a clinical trial varies by the type of medication or intervention. Before you sign on, we let you know how much of a time commitment it will be.

Sometimes trials are cut short. If we determine that the new intervention isn’t effective, we may stop the trial. As well, if the new medication or intervention causes severe side effects, the trial is also halted.

Are you interested in pushing medicine forward by testing new medications and interventions — without cost to you? Call us at 601-685-3457 or book an appointment online. You can also send a message to our team on the website. 

We have ongoing clinical trials with new medications, as well as traditional talk therapies and other behavioral interventions. Clinical trials, including supportive therapies, are free of charge.