Clinical Trials?

Every other day some drug company announces that it has a new product and is conducting a clinical trial. These companies attempt to solicit potential lab rats for their experiments by advertising on TV, radio or the internet. It seems that any “eligible and willing participant” (whatever THAT means) will be compensated, usually in the form of cash, for their involvement in said trial.

I usually don’t pay much attention to these commercials as I have never been willing to apply, insert, inject or ingest some unknown substance manufactured by a company who feels the need to advertise to the GENERAL public that they are in want of “test subjects.” However… one commercial DID capture my attention recently.

I heard on the radio that someone (I really don’t know who or what organization) is looking for individuals who are currently or have at one time been on prescription anti-depressants. They want to test “several new types of antidepressants” on any depressed person who is “eligible and willing” between the ages of 18 and 65. I don’t know about you, but this scares the hell out of me that there could be diagnosed, already-depressed people LEGALLY walking around out there on EXPERIMENTAL, mood-altering substances, and getting paid for it!

From previous posts, anyone reading this ought to know by now that I am certainly NOT anti-anti-depressant. I have freely admitted to using and benefiting from them… under the careful observation and supervision of a REAL medical doctor or psychologist!! It is typically a risk starting any mood-altering medication, even under the best of circumstances and surveillance. There’s a reason those drugs carry black-box warnings you know. There is no way to anticipate how any given psychotropic drug is going to affect you physically, cognitively, emotionally and mentally. However, with a prescribing doctor nearby, an informed person can usually get through any trouble that may occur during the initial start-up period.

It seems alright to me for people to try a new energy drink or diet supplement or appetite suppressant here and there… or a ground-breaking skin cream for acne, psoriasis, stretch marks or eczema… Some unique teeth-whitening paste… A potion that promises a potential cure for baldness… that’s OK. But I’m sorry… no good could possibly come from something “experimental” being marketed to an already vulnerable, clinically depressed population.

See, the thing is… with the earlier mentioned items… what’s the worst that could happen? An upset stomach, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain, excess gas and bloating, flatulence, headache, skin rash, hives, itching, dry-skin, oily-skin, scaly skin, weight gain, weight loss, hair loss, tooth loss, dry mouth, sleeplessness, restlessness, ringing in the ears, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips or tongue, chest pain, dark urine, fast, slow or irregular heartbeat, fever, chills, sore throat, swelling of the hands, ankles or feet, unusual bruising or bleeding, excessive tiredness, vision changes, muscle soreness, strange watery discharge, night sweats, numbness, nose bleeds, bleeding out the eyes… that stuff is child’s play compared to what might happen when you carelessly tinker with the chemistry of the brain.

Just imagine someone participating in this highly-solicited clinical trial who is a crane operator, taxi-driver or middle-school teacher… ALL of which are extremely perilous jobs. HELLO!? Does the idea of this stuff being offered up to any psychologically-medicated person within earshot of a radio scare anyone else? Or is it just me?

Perhaps I am paranoid.

Maybe I should give that 1-800 number a call. I could use the extra cash.