There are three steps that marks the end of a study:
- The last participation takes place
- All data is “locked”, meaning that no changes can be made
- All collected data is reviewed and analyzed by statisticians
If you have participated in the study, there are a couple of things that you might be interested in:
Join the patient community
The community of clinical study participants is big – every year, thousands of people all around the world volunteer to help the development of new and better medication and treatments.
Together, the study participant community can help answer vital questions about health, and assist in the discoveries of new treatments and medications.
Discuss continuing your treatment
It’s important that you and your doctor work together to figure out what should happen to your care after the study has ended.
Some studies can continue to give access to the study medication after the study has ended, but it’s not very common. Make sure to check with your trial doctor what applies to your study.
The study could continue – or not
After the results of the study have been analyzed, several things can happen depending on the phase the study is in. You can read more about the different phases here.
If the study is in the first of second phase, researchers will know if the medication or treatment is safe and effective. If it is, it will most likely move on to the next phase. But if it’s not, more research will be needed before it can be tested further. In some cases, the study will not continue at all.
After a Phase III trial, the results will be examined by researchers. They will then decide if the data is medically important, and propose next steps in the study.
The medication or treatment can become available to patients
When a study medicine or treatment has gone through all three phases and proved to be both safe and effective, it could be given the go-ahead by authorities.
To get a treatment or medication approved for widespread use, researchers have to send the results of the study to their country-specific authorities (like the FDA in the US). It’s important to remember that not all experimental treatments or medication are approved by authorities.
You can access the research results
If you have participated in a clinical study, you can access the results on www.clinicaltrials.gov.
Remember that it can take some time for the results to be available, since it might still be ongoing even though your participation has ended. The length of clinical studies can vary a lot: some finish within a week, but others can take several years to complete.