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CLINICAL RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 8-12

Challenges in conducting psychiatry studies in India


1 Clinical Research Consultant, Consultant Psychiatrist, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals India Ltd., Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
2 Clinical Operations, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals India Ltd., Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Saifuddin Kharawala
Khatiza Villa, Ground Floor, Room No. 17-18, 12-A Nesbit Road, Mazgaon, Mumbai - 400010, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2229-3485.76284

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A large number of psychiatry studies are conducted in India. Psychiatry studies are complex and present unique challenges in the Indian setting. Ethical issues pertaining to the risk of worsening of illness, use of placebo and validity of informed consents are commonly faced. Site selection can be difficult due to the relative paucity of ICH-GCP (International Conference on Harmonisation - Good Clinical Practice) trained psychiatry investigators in India. Recruitment can be challenging due to issues such as strict eligibility criteria, (lack of) availability of caregiver, illness-related considerations, etc. Assessment of the consent capacity of patients is not simple, while structured assessments are not commonly employed. As the illness fluctuates, the consent capacity may change, thus requiring continued assessment of consent capacity. Study patients run the risk of worsening of illness and suicide due to exposure to inactive treatments; this risk is counterbalanced by use of appropriate study designs, as well as the indirect psychotherapeutic support received. Psychiatry studies are associated with a high placebo response. This necessitates conduct of placebo-controlled studies despite the attendant difficulties. Also, the high placebo response is often the cause of failed trials. Rating scales are essential for assessment of drug response. Some rating instruments as well as some rater training procedures may not be suitable for the Indian setting. Technological advancements may increase the procedural complexity but improve the quality of ratings. Psychiatry studies present monitors and auditors with unique scenarios too. Utilization of psychiatry specific training and expertise is recommended to ensure successful conduct of these studies in India.


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