Why are there research studies only for certain age groups?

Sometimes studies will require that participants be within a certain age group. A variety of reasons are behind this type of selection criteria, based on what the trial is for, what phase it’s in, and what other studies may have already been completed. In the past, trials typically had a guideline of participants between the ages of 18 and 65. Children and the elderly were underrepresented so there may be less data on how these age groups may respond to the drug or treatment being studied.

For example, many medicines and treatments are given to children that may have been tested only in adults. According to the Children and Clinical Studies article “Why Do Research In Children?”, this occurs in more than 70 percent of cases. Research dedicated to children can help uncover the best doses, the development of medications that are easier for children to take yet are still safe, and how medicines affect children as they grow and develop.

“For example, testing of one antibiotic showed that babies needed higher doses than older children to get rid of their infection. Many medicines are filtered out of the body and handled differently by a child’s developing liver or kidneys,” continues the Children and Clinical Studies article.

Sometimes older people are requested and this is for the same reasons that children may be requested: older people may react to drugs differently or may need different dosages. They may also experience different side effects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults are twice as likely to suffer an adverse drug event serious enough to require a trip to the emergency room, and seven times more likely than younger adults to be hospitalized as a result. Plus, many older people may have special health needs to be considered.

Treatments and medications for illnesses and conditions that occur only or primarily among certain age groups such as prematurity, Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), or neuroblastoma, which occur in children; or Alzheimer’s, dementia, and osteoporosis which occur primarily in the elderly, also must be researched.

How well and how fast medications are absorbed, metabolized, and eliminated can vary among infants, children, teens, adults, and the elderly. Metabolism, body composition (weight, muscle mass), liver and kidney function, and digestive function vary as we age. Therefore, some diseases and conditions occur in both children and adults but that act differently—such as arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes—need to be studied for each age group separately in order to ensure the treatments and medications that are developed work as expected.

For all of these reasons, certain studies may require participants be of a certain age. It may be to supplement prior research completed on certain ages only; it may be due to the prevalence of the indication in certain age groups; or it may be because different age groups may react to the drug or treatment in different ways.

Meridien Research is currently conducting studies for men, women and children from 4 to 90 years of age open at our six research clinics. For more information or to see if you or someone you know may qualify to participate, please contact us today at 1-888-777-8839.