Could a Clinical Trial be Done Without Patients Ever Entering a Clinic?

Everyone has heard commercials on the radio and tv requesting patients to participate in a clinical drug study.  Anyone who has been broke at college, or after, has at the very least considered participating to pay the bills.  Personally, I have participated in about four different studies of various types.

One of the worst parts of participating in a study as a patient is having to go back and forth to the clinic a while bunch of times.  For a company one of the most expensive parts of conducting a clinical study is recruiting patients.  A new study is trying to eliminate both of those difficulties.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal the FDA has approved the first clinical drug study to be conducted from patients’ homes through computers and smartphones rather than visiting an actual clinic.  This is obviously not something that could be done with every type of drug, but it is worth considering in certain situations.

Pfizer is conducting the study with their overactive bladder drug, Detrol.  It is designed to replicate a study conducted in 2007 using traditional methods.  If they are successful, it could save pharmaceutical companies a lot of money.

Patients can be recruited through web advertising and must only make one visit to a clinic for a blood draw, which can be done in a home visit if necessary.  The medications are then sent to patients and they keep diaries in a mobile phone app that is specifically designed to monitor symptoms of overactive bladder.  They must also fill out assessments online four times during the study.

Should the study prove to be effective this would not only make it easier to recruit patients but would not limit a study area to only a small geographic area.  Patients could come from pretty much anywhere.

It will be very interesting to see the results and how that might change clinical trials in the future.