Participants from different ages (as well sexes, races and ethnicities) are needed for clinical research. Diversity in clinical research is crucial. Similar group of participants may lead to more uncertain findings, which may not apply to the general population (they may not “generalise”). Diversity of participants means that the research results may be “stronger” and may apply more widely.

The participation of older people in clinical trials is crucial as scientists can arrive at more accurate conclusions and can learn more about how new drugs, therapies, medical devices, surgical procedures, or tests will work for older people. The majority of older people have more specialised health needs than younger people. As people grow up and age, their bodies may have a different reaction to drugs. So, older people may need different dosages or amounts of drugs in order to have the expected result. Moreover, side effects may have a different impact or severity in older people. Consequently, older people’s participation in clinical trials is vital because it produces more accurate results, which can lead to more effective treatments.

However, researchers know that it may not be easy for some older people to join a clinical trial. For instance:

  • Is it possible for a person to participate in a clinical trial that is looking only in one health condition while she/he has many health problems?  
  • Is it possible to participate in a clinical trial if you are frail or have a disability?

In order to have a clear answer to the above questions as well as to other questions that you may have, it is always important to for potential participants to discuss these issues and any concerns with the trial coordinator.