Every day, scientists and pharmacists are coming up with new medications that are meant to help people. In order for new medicine to be approved, it has to go through a clinical trial. There are a few different phases of a clinical trial to determine if a new drug is safe for use.
At what stage does it get tested on humans?
After the medicine has been developed and is deemed ready for clinical trials, the first step is to test the drug or vaccine on a small group of people. This is to better determine factors like proper dosage and any potential side effects. Phase 1 can last a few weeks to a few months and may require volunteers with a unique background.
Each stage after that adds more people to the study. The second phase adds a control group that receives a placebo. Phase III gives the drug to even more people and can last a couple of years, in order to measure the effectiveness and any side effects.
When does it get released to the public?
Normally, the drug will be released to the public after it’s been determined safe with no long term, negative side effects during Phase III. At this point, the drug has been given to enough people in the early clinical trials that it’s assumed to be effective and safe.
However, just because something has been marketed and made available to the public doesn’t mean studies stop there. Scientists will continue to observe people who have taken the drug to determine long-term effects over a period of time.
This is the phase when scientists might notice concerning trends, or recall notices start to appear.