In my years working in patient communications, two of the main areas I worked in included patient to doctor communications and patient recruitment for clinical research projects. Our patient to doctor communications business accepted 10 million live phone calls annually, mostly from patients, on behalf of the 17,000 physicians we worked for. The calls covered everything from people about to become first time parents, to parents calling on behalf of their aging parents. Often the calls were for medications that seniors were being prescribed.
The clinical trials business was exciting as we worked on bringing groundbreaking prescription and over the counter therapies to patients, while developing new concepts for the industry that enabled more rapid deployment and completion of these research studies.
While the health conditions covered in these studies varied greatly, one item always seemed out of step to me given my patient to doctor experience – seniors were rarely included in the research for the drugs they were being prescribed and will ultimately consume.
For years I’ve been saying that seniors should be included in the research. I think this is one of the major reasons for the high rates of dissatisfaction with prescription remedies as pointed out by my colleague Gregori Kanatzidis(1).
It looks like someone is listening. Recently the National Institutes of Health began a project called ROAR – Recruiting Older Adults into Research (ROAR) – a project to encourage older adults and their family caregivers to consider participating in research. An early focus is Alzheimer’s and dementia research. This is an important subject for seniors.
In the cannabis research area we at CannaTrials have launched a cannabis research project to learn how people are using cannabis, for what health conditions, and how they are doing. It is called the PROMMISE study(2)and includes anyone over 21 years old without an upper age limit.
We know that seniors are the fastest growing group of cannabis users.(3) Seniors can be found in the dispensaries. Buses even take them in droves as the ‘Rolled joints for aching joints article”(4) in the LA Times recounts. More seniors are using cannabis and they need information. By sharing their experiences through research like the PROMMISE study, more people will benefit by knowing how people like themselves are using cannabis successfully.