Yes, You Can Join a Research Study If You Live with Major Depressive Disorder
Research studies, commonly referred to as clinical trials, are essential to the future of medicine, to identifying new therapies and interventions, and to improving the health of patients now and in the future. Participating in research studies can be a display of true altruism. All treatments available to the public today started out in research studies, which means they also came to be because of people before us who made the decision to participate in a research study.
If you live with a health condition, being involved in a research study can allow you to potentially benefit from undiscovered therapies for your disease being researched by licensed physicians. Simply put, you can advance the field of medicine through your participation in a research study.
Research studies defined
Research studies are integral to health care, as they allow researchers to better understand health conditions and determine whether new drugs, diagnostics, medical implants, or other treatments are safe and effective.
These trials are conducted in phases, with each phase requiring a greater number of participants to further test the efficacy and safety of the intervention. When a medication is being studied, researchers will test the size of the dose and side effects, and participants are closely monitored for these and other effects.
It’s important for people of all ages, disease types, and backgrounds to participate in research studies. There has been much discussion in the industry over recent decades about a lack of research study involvement for women and minority groups, whose response to drugs and therapies might be different than others and should be evaluated equally for efficacy.
The safety of research studies
Researchers, along with the pharmaceutical companies, academic organizations, and research hospitals that sponsor research studies must follow strict rules and ethical guidelines. In the United States, these guidelines are set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a government agency charged with regulating trials and approving therapies or diagnostics before they become available to the public.
Additionally, each research study is reviewed and monitored by an Institutional Review Board (IRB), which is an independent panel of qualified, unbiased healthcare providers and researchers. The purpose of an IRB is to help ensure trials are conducted ethically and that the rights, safety, and welfare of trial participants are protected throughout the process.
While there is a difficult history of forced or involuntary participation in clinical research, especially in the Black community, today’s research studies are wholly voluntary. As a participant, you have rights, including asking questions about the length and requirements associated with the trial and the right to withdraw at any time.
Research studies exist for many conditions, including Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
ClinicalTrials.gov currently lists more than 300,000 research studies taking place in the U.S., as well as 210 other countries. You can filter search results for condition, recruitment status, and more. The listing for each study tells you what interventions will be tested, who is sponsoring the study, and details on what researchers are investigating. For research studies actively looking for participants, you’ll be able to see participant eligibility criteria as well as contact information if you’re interested in participating.
As the stigma of a mental health diagnosis is decreasing, more and more people are being diagnosed with mental health disorders, allowing researchers to continually gain more knowledge on therapies and interventions. And for those research studies to happen, they need willing participants.
One leading study that is currently recruiting new patients is the Juniper MDD Study, which will help researchers test a new investigational medication for depression. The study is sponsored by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development & Commercialization, Inc. and seeks U.S. residents between the ages of 18 and 65 whose current primary diagnosis is Major Depressive Disorder.
To see if you are eligible to participate and to learn more about the Juniper study, visit the study’s website here.