How Long Do Clinical Trials Last?

The duration of a clinical study is largely based on the necessary time seen as needed to conduct a proper study, and to feel comfortable with the testing time before releasing the product to the market. With different items to be studied, there will always be different times in which to understand the item fully. Just as learning anything new, there will always be some things that take less time than others.

For certain items, such as a new product coming on the market for single-use, non-invasive devices, the testing time can remain generally short, as a lot of the time these won’t require extensive testing in terms of long-term health effects. A clinical trial, for instance, for a new type of prophylactic can have a running study time of only a few weeks. As testing will generally be done in terms of efficacy and any potential allergic reactions.

Some other studies though, can range up to a few years. In the case of studying new drugs, the testing phase can take up to half a decade before it runs the full gamut of testing before hitting the open market. As with any drug, there is always extensive testing in terms of efficacy and especially in short, medium, and long term effects of using that particular drug.

Drug testing is highly regimented and watched over by many governing bodies as the risks associated with rushing a product onto the shelves can be detrimental. Starting with the research time put into the product before the first person tries it, the product has already undergone a battery of testing. From that point, the first step in clinical trials can take from a few months to a few years, the second phase consisting of a couple more years, same with the third, and the fourth taking upwards to a half-decade.

There is no general figure for exactly how long any clinical trial may take, but in learning about the trial itself, and in receiving information for purposes of volunteering for a study, the estimated time of the study will always be made aware to you. With some trials either extending it’s target time (with your consent) or being terminated early by request of the governing body of the study itself. As with any form of studying, there is always a want to give a general time frame of how long it will take, and as anyone who has endeavored to study a subject knows, those times can vary wildly.

When entering the pool for volunteers to a clinical study, be sure to read all information given to you upfront in order to prepare yourself for the potential time investment, or to be made aware of a time frame that you cannot commit to. It is better to know up front, and make an informed decision than to assume you have the capability to do so and have to back out. As depending on the product, it can have negative effects on your health or otherwise.