The treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex issue because the disease itself can have unique presentations, with no two patients having the same symptoms or experiencing the same benefits from standard treatments. If you have RA, clinical trials can have several benefits in the journey to decrease pain and improve your quality of life.
Better First-Line Therapies
Although there are recommendations by prominent medical associations, such as the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), with regards to the recommended treatment protocol for RA patients, learning more about therapies and their effectiveness can save time and possibly catch damage before it starts. Some of the major questions associated with RA and available treatments include understanding why many patients have no response to common treatment options and why some medications simply stop working when they were once effective. Part of advancing the understanding of RA treatment is identifying disease markers or other characteristics of RA patients that may help doctors select a treatment from the beginning that is more likely to be effective and slow damage.
Improved Access To Biologics
Biologics are a subclass of disease-modifying anti-rheumatics (DMARDs) that may be used alone or in combination with traditional DMARDs to help manage RA. One of the major hurdles associated with biologic therapy is their cost, which can be several thousand dollars per month. Participating in clinical trials for RA treatment may give you the opportunity to try a biologic without the exuberant cost. Additionally, it is also a way to determine whether you would you benefit from treatment with a specific biologic before finding resources to help you pay for the medication. In some cases, clinical trials may allow you to continue treatment if the medication is successful.
Help With The Development Of Biosimilars
Since the patents for some of the first biologics are expiring, there are many pharmaceutical laboratories that are racing to develop and gain approval for biosimilar medications. The main consumer benefit of biosimilars is they should be less expensive than their biologic counterparts. In order for pharmaceutical companies to develop biosimilars, they will need to conduct clinical trials that prove their biosimilars have similar effectiveness as biologics and have the same track record of safety.
As a person with RA, participating in clinical trials with a company like Quintiles not only helps further the study of the underlying disease mechanisms responsible for RA and treatment options, but participation may also give you better access to improved therapies. If you had little or no response to treatments, there may be another treatment on the horizon.