Jules: What does taking part in a trial entail?
Sally Fox, Neurology Research Nurse: Again, it depends on the trial itself. So we have some drugs trials which are highly complex, so they will take a lot in terms of tests that you might need even before we can enrol you to check that you would be eligible. Some of the drugs that we look at are drugs that we’re using anyway for different things and we think they might have, for example, a neuroprotective function. So we’ve already got a good safety profile of these drugs, so usually it’s much simpler to get patients on to trials of those sorts of drugs and you would need less tests. Some of the trials that we run aren’t to do with drugs at all, so they will look at the experience of having MS. So quite often, that might be a one-off questionnaire or a one-off interview. And again, we might be following you in clinical practice, looking at a drug that is new but has been licensed. So that would just be regular questionnaires and we’d be looking at what happens to you in clinical practice. So again, that would be a small commitment really, apart from filling in questionnaires.
Jules: And for the more involved trials, what sort of time commitment is there? I mean, say if someone was working, would they still be able to get involved?
Sally Fox: They can. I think for some of the trials it would be very helpful if you had a supportive workplace, but if they were able to allow you time at the beginning. With a lot of these trials sometimes people will take annual leave, for example, because they tend to be quite commitment-heavy in the early days while we’re doing MRI tests, blood tests. You might need more visits in the earlier part of a trial. Once we’re happy that you’re going to react to a drug in a certain way and we know how you’re going to react to the drug, then the time commitment goes down so the appointments wouldn’t be as frequent.
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