Clinical Trials For Overweight and Obesity: Would You Sign Up?
Many people who are struggling with overweight and obesity are not aware there are clinical trials available that could help them with their goals. Would you sign up for a clinical trial that is investigating ways to better deal with weight problems?
According to the results of a recent study conducted by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, only about one-third of Americans say they would participate in a clinical trial and only 40 percent have a positive impression of such studies. A person’s willingness to participate in a clinical trial can depend on many factors, including the condition that needs attention and the seriousness or stage they are in.
For example, a person with stage 3 breast cancer who has not responded to previous treatments will likely feel differently about enrolling in a clinical trial than, say, someone who has a mild form of psoriasis. Choosing to participate in a clinical trial is a highly individual decision.
What worries people about clinical trials?
Generally, however, whether you are considering participating in a clinical trial for overweight and obesity or one for cancer, there are some basic concerns people have expressed. For example:
- Will I experience side effects (this is the biggest concern according to the latest survey)
- Will I have out-of-pocket expenses?
- Will my insurance cover any expenses?
- What if I am given a placebo?
- What if the medicine doesn’t work?
- What if the trial location is not convenient or close enough for me?
- Will I feel like I am a guinea pig?
All of these questions, and others that may come to mind, are ones you should ask the individuals who are in charge of the study. They are more than happy to address your queries and concerns. If you discover you are not eligible for a specific trial, they may able to direct you to another study.
Reasons to participate in a clinical trial
Obviously, the decision to participate in a clinical trial is a personal one, but here are some benefits you could experience by making that choice:
- Exposure to new treatments that are not yet available to the general public
- An opportunity to achieve your goals
- A chance to consult with medical experts who are up to date on your condition
- A way to play an active role in your own health care
- Helping others by contributing to research
- A chance to learn new ways to tackle your weight issues
Where to find clinical trials on overweight and obesity
First, you should talk to your doctor. He or she can help you enroll in a clinical trial that fits your needs. However, not all doctors are completely aware of the clinical trials that are available, so it’s a good idea to do some research on your own. The following websites can help you with that task.
- Check out Centerwatch, which has a website for obesity clinical trials. The opportunities are listed by state.
- The government website, ClinicalTrials.gov, provides a comprehensive list of trials in the US and at sites around the world. Use the “search” feature to find trials that may be appropriate for you.
For example, a recent search of just the word “obesity” revealed 6,983 clinical trials. When “obesity” was searched with a city (Tucson), the result was 29. A search using “overweight” and “New York” resulted in 174 studies.
Keep in mind that these numbers represent trials that are in several categories, such as recruiting, completed, active and not recruiting, and unknown. If you click on a study, you will be given an extensive explanation of what the study involves, who to contact, and all the locations it is being conducted if it is a multicenter trial.
- Clinical Trials GPS, a website that provides an extensive list of all the US clinical trials. The link that covers overweight and weight loss is here. Simply put in your zip code and the number of miles away from your location that you are willing to travel, and you will get a list of available clinical trials.
- PMG Research, which is an organization that operates research facilities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Illinois. If you live in any of these states, this website can help you through the volunteer process.
Participation in a clinical trial for overweight or obesity is an option that may be appropriate for you. Is it time to talk to your doctor about a clinical trial?
Clinical Trials GPS
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
National Institutes of Health
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