2. What is a clinical trial?


Clinical trials are studies designed to answer specific questions about health and illness and how well medicines and treatments work.

These studies give important information about how good and safe these treatments are.

In this booklet we use the term 'treatment' to mean different types of health care, such as:

• Medicines or drugs to treat pain, infection, blood pressure or other sicknesses.

• Vaccines to prevent infections. These include measles, mumps and rubella vaccines.

• Medical equipment such as plasters, dressings and blood sugar measuring devices.

• Different types of surgery and scans of the body (X-rays).

• Physical therapies. These include different types of exercises to build strength after a sports injury or to help with balance and movement problems.

• Psychological therapies or behavioural therapy: These are therapies designed to help how we think about problems we may have.

• Educational programmes: These are programmes designed to help children and teenagers understand their medical condition.