What's A Clinical Trial?
Research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans are known as clinical trials. These trials may also show which medical approaches work best for certain illnesses or groups of people. Clinical trials are an important part of developing potential future treatment options. Without them, progress in medicine would not be possible.
Clinical trials follow strict scientific standards, which protect patients and help produce reliable study results. Usually clinical trials are one of the final stages of a long research process.
A clinical trial may:
improve patient outcomes;
offer no benefit; or
cause unexpected harm
All results are important because they advance medical knowledge and help improve patient care.
To participate in any clinical trial (also known as study), you must first meet all of the eligibility requirements. Requirements will differ for every study and clinic, but typically the requirements are related to your age, health, and reproductive status.
If you see a study that interests you, and you meet the posted eligibility requirements, the next step is for you to call the recruitment phone number for that specific study. Be sure to mention the study number and compensation amount during your inquiry. During your phone call, the recruiter will conduct a phone screening and if you qualify for the study, then the recruiter will schedule you for a screening at the facility.
Usually during the in-person screening, the doctors and staff members will go over the study with you and you will be able to ask any questions that you may have about the study. They will also conduct various tests and assessments to see if you meet all of the eligibility requirements. These tests and assessments are in place for your well being as well as the interest of the study being conducted. If you meet all of the requirements, you will qualify for study participation.
Once you are eligible and make an informed decision to participate in a study, you will visit the research facility to participate. The duration of your stay and the number of visits vary depending on the study and you will always know the schedule of the study (as well as all other expectations) prior to agreeing to participate.
You may also be asked to stay overnight. If you are asked to stay overnight, you will be provided with a room and meals.
During your study clinic visits, study doctors and staff members will evaluate your health and response to any medication you have been given. Some of the tests and assessments they may use include:
Reviews of your medical history
Vital signs measurements
Blood and urine sample collections
Questions about how you are feeling
Reviews of any medications you are taking
Reviews of any side effects you experience
Study doctors and staff members will go over all tests and assessments. You will be encouraged to ask questions about anything you don't understand.
If I qualify for a study, do I have to participate?
No, you do not have to participate. It is your decision whether or not you want to join and participate in a study.
If I join a study, do I have to complete the study?
No, you are free to leave the study at any time and for any reason.
However, if you choose to leave the study early, the study doctor and/or study staff may complete exit procedures, such as checking your vitals, and ask you some follow-up questions. You will also not be allowed to rejoin the study.
How many follow-up visits are required?
It depends on the study. Some studies may require more follow-up visits than others. The study doctor and/or the study staff will go over how many follow-up visits you may need to make.
Will I be paid for participating in a study?
It depends, each clinic and study is different. However, prior to consenting to participate, you will be advised of the compensation amount, or lack thereof. Contact one of the clinics on our Clinics page to learn more about study participation. Additionally, all study medication, tests, and assessments will be provided to you at no cost.
Can I get study medication outside of clinical research studies?
No, only study volunteers are eligible to receive study medication. Clinical research study medications are not available to the public.
Should I speak with my family, friends, and physician prior to participating in a clinical research study?
It is always a good idea to discuss your study participation with people you trust. Your physician may also be able to discuss other treatment options with you and monitor you for any possible side effects.