Medical experts around the world are increasingly asking for better, more specific clinical trials around diabetes medication, to help them make more informed decisions and ensure best outcomes for patients.

Does diabetes require a more pragmatic approach to clinical trials

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As it stands at present, the vast majority of new drugs are checked using randomised placebo-controlled clinical trials, or RCTs. While important, most medical professionals agree they provide only a limited perspective on the drug’s safety and efficacy. This is because they only test the drugs in certain, rather limited, conditions, comparing them to the use of no treatment at all (the placebo), rather than to other drugs or a combination of drugs.

Clinical trials options

Having more complex trials, where there is a greater emphasis on different demographics of patients, as well as interaction with other medication and presence or otherwise of different medical conditions, would enable doctors to gain a better understanding of how medication works differently for each patient. More and more medical professionals believe this more pragmatic approach to clinical trials would help them achieve their ultimate goal of personalised care.

Does diabetes require a more pragmatic approach to clinical trials2

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One more detailed diabetes-related trial is already taking place in the USA. Called Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes: A Comparative Effectiveness Study (GRADE), it was launched three years ago to discover which of four drugs works best when combined with the commonly used diabetes treatment metformin.

According to, metformin helps diabetics respond normally to insulin, and is often used in conjunction with other drugs. Which of these drugs it responds best to, however, is not entirely clear – which is where GRADE comes in. The study, which is currently recruiting participants from 45 sites across America, aims to discover which combination of drugs provides both best outcomes and least side effects.

Personalised care

Increased use of this type of clinical trials will, the experts believe, lead to more personalised care for each patient, enabling more informed decisions to be made by professionals.

People taking part in paid clinical trials, such as those provided at, can and do help patients of the future by enabling better medical decisions to be made about care.

This sort of medical research can help everyone in the long run, creating a future where every patient is treated differently, according to their predicted response or potential risks.