Research Studies

A medicine that is being researched is called a "study medicine" or "study drug." This means that researchers have more to learn about the medicine before doctors can start using it to help their patients. Research studies (also called "clinical trials") help answer questions about a study medicine, like how safe it is, whether or not it works to help people with a certain disease or condition, and how much of it is needed for it to work well while still being safe.

Research studies are regulated, or watched over, by regulatory agencies like the United States Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada. These agencies carefully review the information collected in these studies before deciding to let these new medications be offered to the public. Once a drug has passed this review, many drug companies keep conducting their research on the drug to continue to make sure it is safe and effective.

Study doctors are required to follow strict rules to protect the safety of the people who volunteer to be in research studies. All study doctors and researchers must follow a detailed plan, called a protocol, which explains everything about the study. The protocol has been looked at by an independent board (or group of people) that makes sure study volunteers are kept as safe as possible. Also, before signing people up for a study, researchers have to fully explain the study to the people who are volunteering and answer any questions they may have. Being in a research study is voluntary. That means study volunteers may leave the study at any time for any reason. Study volunteers may or may not get good results from the study drug.

Research studies like this one are important because they help drug companies make better, safer medicines for the public. Study volunteers can be a big help in this important research.