Special population considerations and regulatory affairs for clinical research

Kristin N Grimsrud, Catherine M.T. Sherwin, Jonathan E. Constance, Casey Tak, Athena F. Zuppa, Michael G. Spigarelli, Nicole L. Mihalopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Special populations, including women (non-pregnant and pregnant), pediatrics, and the elderly, require additional consideration with regard to clinical research. There are very specific regulatory laws, which protect these special populations, that need to be understood and adhered to in order to perform clinical research. This review provides a broad overview of some of the physiological differences in special populations and discusses how these differences may affect study design and regulatory considerations. These various special populations, with respect to regulatory affairs, are clearly defined within the Code of Federal Regulations. The definition of "special population" exists to provide enhanced awareness of their vulnerabilities, thereby allowing the creation of regulatory guidance aimed to decrease injury or outright harm. Currently, progress is being made to be more inclusive of special populations in clinical trials. This reflects changing attitudes towards drug information, with it being more representative of those patients that will ultimately be prescribed or exposed to the therapy. However, all research undertaken in these populations should be performed in a manner that ensures all protections of each participant are upheld.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-56
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Research and Regulatory Affairs
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Geriatrics
  • Human subject research
  • Pediatrics
  • Pregnancy
  • Regulations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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