Participation in clinical trials improves women's health outcomes

Research of women’s reproductive health—including areas such as contraception and abortion—is often underfunded and seen as risky. As a result, research from general medicine can influence how physicians care for pregnant patients, which is not an ideal approach to optimum medical care.

But a recent review of clinical trials shows that participants have improved health outcomes when compared to those not involved in trials.

A review of 21 studies including more than 20,000 women found a 25 percent improved rate of patient outcomes in women participating in obstetrics and gynecology clinical trial when compared to those not participating. These improved outcomes were seen regardless if a particular treatment was effective, leading researchers to hope these results will encourage women to join trials.

"Clinical trials are often perceived as 'experiments,' 'risky' or 'dangerous,'” said lead researcher Khalid Khan, professor at Queen Mary University of London. “However, our findings challenge these misconceptions. [They] show not only that [trials] are safe but that there is a significant benefit associated with participation, with overall 25 percent chance of better health outcomes. Interestingly, we also found that participants still experienced benefits irrespective of whether the treatment in the trial was found to be effective or not."

The study was published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.