What is a clinical trial & why should I participate?
Clinical trials, also known as “clinical research studies,” are studies that help researchers determine whether new medications, treatments, and devices are safe and effective. Clinical trials frequently study medications, treatments, and devices that have not yet been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for general use. Clinical trials bring the same cutting-edge, experimental treatments available at the nation’s largest research hospitals within reach of patients in even the most rural areas of the country.
Volunteering to participate in a study requires commitment. Study success depends upon volunteers taking medications and/or using devices as directed, keeping all scheduled appointments, and completing required paperwork. Because the medications, treatments, or devices being studied in a clinical trial are considered experimental, there may be unforeseen risks. Volunteers will be informed about any previously unknown risks and side effects as they become known throughout the trial. Thus, informed consent is an ongoing process, and volunteers may withdraw from a study at any time.
People participate in clinical trials for a variety of reasons. Some studies provide laboratory tests, study-related visits, procedures, and/or experimental medication or treatment at no cost, and participants in some studies receive a stipend for their time and travel expenses. Other volunteers appreciate the careful monitoring they receive during the trial. Still others volunteer in order to gain access to a medication or treatment that could improve their medical condition. And most volunteers are motivated by a desire to help others or themselves by providing information that can lead to better treatments.