Four reasons you might try a clinical trial if you have psoriasis.
Clinical trials are an important step in the discovery of effective new drugs and treatments. They help researchers better understand how to treat and prevent diseases and conditions, including psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis.
If psoriasis symptoms keep coming back after all available and approved therapies have been tried, a clinical trial might be an option for you or your loved one.
There are many new, effective treatments available to control mild psoriasis. Clinical trials for psoriasis generally involve people with moderate to severe forms of the condition, which can be more challenging to treat.
Reasons why you might consider a clinical trial for psoriasis include:
- Your current treatment doesn't control your psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis symptoms and no other approved therapies are likely to help.
- All current or approved psoriasis treatments have potential side effects that are risky to your health.
- Your current treatment causes intolerable side effects or the side effects will cause long-term damage to your overall health.
- You can't access standard or approved therapies because of location, cost or other factors.
There are several phases of clinical trials.
Phase I trials are small research studies that rely on healthy volunteers to evaluate how the body reacts to a new treatment.
If you're thinking about an experimental treatment for your psoriasis, you might ask your doctor about phase II or phase III trials. These trials need hundreds to thousands of people with a condition or disease, such as psoriasis. They study how a treatment works — and if it's safe — compared with a currently approved treatment.
Phase IV trials (post-phase trials) look at treatments after they've been approved and are on the market. These observational studies require thousands of participants. They monitor the long-term safety of a treatment and study how it affects the body over time.
You and your doctor likely discuss the pros and cons of any medicines or surgeries you need. You should do the same thing when considering a clinical trial.
Benefits of a clinical trial:
- You get access to a treatment before it's approved or widely available.
- All medical care relating to the treatment, including lab work, is free.
- You may get paid for participating or for traveling to the trial site.
- You play an active part in your medical care while contributing to medical research.
- You might not meet the requirements of the study you wish to be involved in.
- You have to stop all current treatments before the trial begins.
- You might get a dummy pill (placebo). Some clinical trials are randomized, which means half the participants receive the treatment and half don't. If it's a blind trial, your researcher or doctor won't know which treatment you receive.
- As with any medication, you may have side effects. Or the drug may not work and your symptoms might get worse.
- Frequent checkups might be time-consuming for some people.
- You might have trouble getting the treatment after the trial if the medicine isn't on the market yet.
Many clinical trials are currently underway for all types of psoriasis. Your doctor may be able to provide information about psoriasis clinical trials near you.
You can also search for psoriasis clinical trials online, such as at the National Psoriasis Foundation's Clinical Trial Finder (https://trials.psoriasis.org/) or Mayo Clinic's Clinical Trials webpage (https://www.mayo.edu/research/clinical-trials). Some search tools allow you to find a trial best suited to your needs, including how far you're willing to travel.
And remember, clinical trials need healthy volunteers, too. They aren't possible without all types of volunteers.
Oct. 01, 2019
- Should you consider a clinical trial? National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/advance/should-i-consider-clinical-trial. Accessed May 21, 2019.
- Why participate in a clinical trial? National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/why-participate-clinical-trial-what-else-should-i-know. Accessed June 21, 2019.
- Learn about clinical studies. U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/about-studies/learn#Participating. Accessed June 21, 2019.
- Clinical trials 101. National Psoriasis Foundation. https://www.psoriasis.org/clinical-trials/101. Accessed June 21, 2019.
- Gibson LE (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 24, 2019.