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Clinical Trials

Research Paves the Way for New Therapies

Next time you open your medicine cabinet or fill a prescription, think about this: New drugs go through an average of 12 years of rigorous testing before they are deemed safe and effective for people to use.

Research is done through clinical trials, which are essential for improving health and medical care.

Clinical trials are proving ground for new or better:

  • Drugs
  • Procedures or techniques
  • Devices
  • Vaccines
  • Ways to prevent and diagnose disease

Learn More: Increasing Diversity in Clinical Trials

Without these studies, and the people who volunteer to take part in them, many common medicines including aspirin, statins to lower cholesterol, beta blockers for high blood pressure and the newer diabetes medicines would not be available today. Nor would we have developed such a deep understanding of diseases such as heart disease and stroke, and how best to treat and prevent them.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires rigorous scientific studies to prove that a treatment or device is both safe and effective before allowing it to be available to patients. Altogether, more than a hundred FDA-approved drugs and devices  are available to treat or stave off cardiovascular disease, and they work in different ways.

“Clinical research” refers to studies, or trials, that are done in people. Nearly all treatments available today were once studied in clinical trials; for example, the new PCSK9 inhibitors, implantable defibrillators and drug-eluting stents.

Yet 3 out of 4 Americans surveyed don’t know about the clinical research process.


  • Last Edited 04/30/2017