The FDA is trialling snapshot populations for better clinical trials

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It has been known for quite some time that the effects of medicines can be different, depending on the patient’s gender or ethnicity.

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For example, the sedative zolpidem, used to help people with insomnia, is known to work differently on women and men – female patients are usually prescribed just half the dose prescribed for male patients.

Similarly, a common treatment for high blood pressure, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, have been shown to work less effectively in black patients than in white patients.

According to Medpage Today, these differences will become more and more important in the future, as medicines are more routinely tailored to the person as an individual.


In order to investigate this phenomenon further, with the aim of improving how new drugs are prescribed, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently providing snapshots of drug trials.

The FDA, a federal agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services, has been trialling the Drug Trials Snapshots programme for the past two years.

The snapshots provide valuable information on the people who take part in the clinical trials necessary for each new drug, including specific details of their gender, age, race and ethnic group.

Valuable information

These snapshots will also show up any differences in reaction or side effects between the different groups, so anyone can see how the drugs performed, based on the ethnicity and gender of the patient involved.

This information is particularly important in the development of new drugs, called ‘novel drugs’ by the FDA, as being able to understand such differences at a glance will allow the organisation to improve both the process of clinical trials and the use of the drugs themselves.

Any new drugs or medical devices have to pass through rigorous and strict procedures before they are allowed onto the marketplace.

Part of this process may involve the use of clinical staffing services, such as those provided by http://www.gandlscientific.com/clinical-staffing-solutions/.

It is hoped that the snapshots, which are available to anyone to look at, will help make the process of getting important new drugs to those in need even faster and safer than it is at present.

It could also help lead to a future in which every patient gets a completely personalised treatment programme.