As someone living with multiple sclerosis, participating in a clinical trial becomes an option.
These studies sometimes involve medications currently available and FDA-approved while other trials involve new potential medications that are still being tested for benefit and safety.
Generally, you are randomly assigned to 2 or 3 treatment options and followed over time. In “double-blinded” trials, you and your neurologist are unaware of which treatment you are taking. The purpose of blinded trials is to help prevent the results from being biased. In relapsing MS trials, people are generally randomly assigned to an existing FDA-approved treatment or the experimental medication. In trials of people with progressive MS without relapses, an experimental therapy may be compared to placebo. In studies of myelin repair, generally you will be kept on your disease-modifying therapy.
Careful evaluation and understanding of the known and unknown risks to you of treatments being investigated are very important. To actually enroll in a trial, you need to fully understand these risks. In addition, you will need to sign an informed consent form that you agree to participate in the study and you have been informed of both the benefits and risks.