Shedding excess weight can be an extremely arduous task, especially if you use conventional methods. Diets rarely yield long-term weight loss. In her book The Psychology of Ideal Body Image as an Oppressive Force in the Lives of Women, Barbara Cohen, Ph.D. argues that 95% of diets fail. With two-thirds of Americans either overweight (defined as a body-mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher) or obese (a 30-plus BMI), there is clearly a need to stop this epidemic.
Ongoing research can provide promising solutions. Government agencies, universities, hospitals, and corporations are frequently enrolling patients in studies designed to test the effectiveness of new drugs, procedures and medical devices on weight loss management. Moreover, some studies will even provide an economic incentive for you to lose weight.
Finding the trial that’s right for you.
Paidclinicaltrials.org is an excellent resource for starting your clinical trial search. It lists federally and privately supported clinical trials conducted in the U.S. and around the world. There are more than 1100 studies in obesity and/or weight loss which are actively recruiting to date.
In fact, more than 400 of these clinical trials are evaluating new treatments strategies such as drugs, behavioral modifications, devices, procedures, surgeries, and diets for their effectiveness in helping patients lose weight. To find clinical trials specific to weight loss management or obesity which are currently looking for patients, click here.
You can also tailor the search to your specific needs. For example, you can limit the search to clinical trials actively enrolling adults (18-65) in your state. You might initially be overwhelmed by the medical jargon used to describe each of the trials.
Don’t be discouraged. Every trial description has the contact information for a health care professional involved in the study who can provide you with a clear understanding of the trial. They will explain the main purpose of the trial, how long they expect it to last, where it will be conducted, and what treatments will be used. Below, you’ll find a list of just some of the drugs, procedures, or devices which are currently being investigated for use in weight loss management.
|List of Treatments based on Drugs||List of Treatment Procedures or Devices|
|Growth Hormone||Lacroscopic adjustable gastric band|
|Zonisamide||Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation|
|Sibutramine||List of Treatment Devices|
|Liraglutide||Boussignac TM CPAP|
|Vitamin D||Venturi Face Mask|
Before participating in a clinical trial
Before considering participating in a clinical trial you should talk about it with your primary health care provider. Your physician knows you and your medical history best, which makes them an excellent source for evaluating whether a trial might be beneficial. He or she can also help you identify key questions and concerns specific to your health needs that might be important to discuss with the study coordinator prior to participation.
For example, if you have a preexisting heart condition your physician could offer advice about your risks and benefits of participating in weight loss management clinical trials. You should also alert a family member or loved one to your decision to participate and someone along for support and to hear the responses to the questions regarding your participation.
According to clinicaltrials.gov, some helpful questions to ask while visiting the physician conducting the trials include:
•How will this affect my daily life?
•How will I be safety be monitored?
•Are there any risks involved?
•What happens if I am harmed by the trial?
•What are the alternative treatments besides the one being tested in the trial?
•Do I have to pay for any part of the trial?
•Can I opt to remain on this treatment, even after termination of the trial?
Benefits and risks associated with participating in a clinical trial
Not only will you gain access to treatments before they are widely available, but in some cases, trials will provide the treatment at no cost. Sometimes participants are also compensated financially for their time and travel. Moreover, during the trial you will have regular monitoring by the doctors and other health care professionals involved in the study.
Along with these benefits are also risks. There may be unpleasant, serious, or even life-threatening side effects to an experimental treatment. Not all of the adverse drug reactions are known since some of the treatments, procedures, indications for the experimental drugs are relatively new. Also, the effectiveness of these new weight loss therapies may be unknown. Not every patient receives the active agent. For example, you could be randomly assigned to the placebo group instead of the active drug group.
Weight loss drugs and procedures are designed to be a tool to help patients overcome the disease. There isn’t a ‘one pill’ treatment that treats obesity and rapidly provides weight loss. Many health care providers agree that permanent lifestyle changes in diet and exercise are necessary regardless of whether you choose to enroll in a clinical trial. If you are struggling with weight loss, make sure you avail yourself of all your options before deciding the best plan for you.