Before a drug is approved for human use, it has to undergo several stages of development. This usually takes years and tremendous amounts of resources. A drug must pass all the safety measures and indeed, it must be effective. This process is what is commonly termed a clinical trial and comprises several steps. If they have plans of carrying out clinical trials Brandon fl researchers must understand all the stages involved beforehand.
This process of testing is usually preceded by what is termed preclinical research. At this stage the new molecules or methods of intervention are tested on animal models, human cells or tissues in a laboratory. This step determines whether the trial will proceed or will be abandoned. For instance, if a new drug is found to be toxic to animal models, there is a very high likelihood that it will be harmful to human tissues as well hence, there is no need to proceed.
The clinical research proper starts with phase zero. This is the first point at which a drug is given to human subjects. The number of people is usually small (about 15) and the dose of the drug is also quite low. This is to avoid unwanted effects that may not be known yet. It takes a few months to complete.
A successful phase zero allows for the commencement of phase 1. If unwanted effects are noted, however, more research at the preclinical stage is warranted. Phase 1 is typically carried out over several months. The main objective is to determine the effects of the drug (or any other intervention) on the test subjects. The number of people enrolled here ranges from 20 and 80.
Phase 1 provides the researcher with other important information other than the side effects associated with the drug. Part of this will include the optimum dose that can be used. This is determined by a gradual increase of the dose to the maximum level that can be tolerated. It is also possible to know the most effective route of administration.
About three quarters of phase one trials proceed to phase 2.The number of subjects is in the hundreds at this point. The usually have the disease or medical condition for which the drug is being developed. Participants will usually be followed up over several months to a few years. Data from this phase are used to determine how the next phase is to be carried out.
By the time the trial gets to phase 3, the number of participants usually has expanded to several thousands. This group also comprises persons that are suffering from the disease. The main aim of this phase is to look at the strengths and weaknesses of a new drug as compared to those that have been in use in the treatment of a particular illness. The new drug should be safer and preferably more effective to get approval .
The final phase, four, is conducted after approval of the drug. Just a quarter of phase 3 trials get to this point, on average. The role of this stage is to conduct surveillance with the aim of documenting long term and rare side effects. Many years are required for the completion of this stage.
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