Sugar Sugar by Jon Stamford

Practically everything we know, or think we know, about the medicines used to treat our condition has been gleaned from clinical trials in patients. And forming the bedrock of this knowledge via data obtained from the gold standard of research, the double blind, randomised, controlled trial (RCT). In an RCT, the intention is to design the experiment in such a way that it is possible to find out the true effect of the drug.

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  • Jon, that was a very clear explanation of the terms involved in drug trials. Thank you.

    At Montreal, the community began discussing Adaptive Design in drug trials as a way to speed up the results and prevent the drugs company spending money going down blind alleys. Could you explain that a bit more and could you explain the delayed start designs of trials which are I believe a way of looking at control versus medicated groups please?

    As with Parkinson's itself, the more we understand about the way drugs trials are used in drug development the better we can make informed choices.

  • Soup,

    Re Adaptive tests, I came across this and thought it may help you:

    fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/......

  • If Placebo's work it would save the NHS a fortune.

  • The thing I find fascinating about placebo's i s that even if you know you're taking a placebo you're still liable to get benefit as if you were taking the real drug. Don't know where I heard that?

  • The test I read about where patients, who were told that the pills were placebo and contained no active ingredients, were asked to rate their experience on a scale. Most reported slight improvement hence the test was deemed a success. They probably were enjoying the experience and attention and that made them feel good.

  • Yes Jon, a very good and welcome article but I felt I was left hanging off the edge of my seat by the last paragraph - ...at the interface of all these stakeholders... decide collectively ... to build a new gold standard of ...

    How do you envisage this interface coming together as an effective force? Shouldn't medical ethicists be included stakeholders?

    This could be our finest hour - fighting talk!

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