Seniors

Additional health care options.  Better access to care.

Clinical trials offer benefits to eligible participants that may not be otherwise available, and can be a good way to access expert health care at no cost to you.  In addition to care you receive during the trial, you will be able to continue your care with your regular GP.  In some cases, the study treatments will be complementary to your current treatment. 

AusTrials conducts clinical trials in a variety of therapeutic areas including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and dementia.  AusTrials study coordinators carefully screen all potential volunteers for each study.  They will be able to explain the study to you in depth, make sure the trial will be a good fit for your care needs, and answer any questions you might have about the trial.

Benefits of Participation

  • Potential access to the most up-to-date medical treatments for an illness 
  • Participants in a clinical trial are closely monitored by doctors and other health professionals throughout the course of the study.
  • Clinical trial participants have an opportunity to meet and speak with other trial participants about their experience
  • No-cost medical care
  • Participation may offer remuneration for time and effort

Volunteers play an important role in making clinical research and the development of new treatments possible.  By participating in an ethically approved clinical trial you play an active role in your health care, and assist with the development of new treatment options for all patients.

To find out if there is a trial that could benefit you, visit our Current Trials page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are clinical trials safe?
Clinical trials test the safety and effectiveness of a study medication.  As with all medications, there are risks of adverse reaction to the study medication.  Ethically approved clinical trials are carefully designed to minimize the risks and ensure the safety of study volunteers. 

  • Study co-coordinators carefully interview each potential volunteer about their health and any current treatments to determine if the study is right for the volunteer.
  • Trial specific information is provided to each volunteer, explaining the study, what to expect, and when to contact a health professional.  
  • Volunteers are closely monitored by experienced health professionals and researchers throughout the course of the study.  
  • Volunteers are in contact with researchers to report on their overall health and well-being and to voice any questions or concerns.
  • Volunteers are able to continue care with their regular GP or care provider.

Are all trials the same?
Clinical trials are categorized in four different groups or Phases.  As a study medication goes through each phase, researchers begin to know more about the medication, how patients respond to the medication, and any possible adverse reactions to the medication.  Each Phase has strict regulations about how trials are to be conducted and conditions for volunteer participation.  AusTrials primarily runs Phase II, III, and IV trials. 

  • Phase I Trials are when a drug is tested in humans for the first time.  The testing at this phase looks at the safety of a treatment – or any adverse side effects – as well as assessing dosing levels.  These studies are generally done with a small group of healthy volunteers over several months. 
     
  • Phase II Trials test the efficacy of a treatment – or how well it works.  These studies are generally done with a larger group of volunteers who have a specific illness.  Usually there is one group of patients that receives the study treatments and another group that receives either a placebo or the current standard treatment for the illness.
     
  • Phase III Trials are large scale studies often involving several thousand volunteer patients.  Phase III allows researchers to gain a better understanding of the benefits and possible adverse reactions to the treatment on a larger scale and over a longer period of time.  After successfully completing Phase III trials, a company can submit the study information to get approval to market the treatment.
     
  • Phase IV Trials are conducted after a treatment has been approved for sale. Phase IV allows companies and researchers to continue to monitor the treatment as well as evaluate how it compares to other treatments available.

What about my current treatment?
Some trials may allow you to continue with your current treatment, while other trials may interfere with other medical treatment you are receiving.  It is important to discuss any medications you may be taking with the study coordinator and determine how participating in the trial may impact your treatment.

What if I get a placebo?
In order to understand how well a new treatment works, many trials split volunteers in to two groups.  One group receives the new study treatment, and another group receives either the standard treatment, or in some cases a placebo.

A placebo appears to be the same as the study treatment, but has no active ingredient.  This helps researchers determine whether the new treatment has any real benefit, and whether it is better than the existing treatments available.

Generally, there will be no way of knowing whether you will receive the new study treatment, a standard existing treatment, or a placebo.  As each trial is different, it is important to speak with the study co-coordinators and your doctor to determine how participating in a trial might conflict with or complement your current treatment.  There is no reason to put your health at risk.

In some cases, patients who are given a placebo during a trial will be given the study medication at the end of the trial if it is determined to be effective.  Should you find that your well-being is impacted by participation, you may withdraw from the trial at any time.


If you have questions or concerns about participating in a clinical trial, contact an AusTrials representative, or visit our Links page for additional resources.