Are You a Candidate for a Clinical Trial?

Should You Participate in a Clinical Trial?
Before answering that question, talk with your treating doctor (such as your pain management specialist or primary care doctor), learn about the clinical trial, and carefully weigh all the possible benefits and risks. Although you may receive some medical care while participating in a clinical trial, your treating doctor should be involved to help avoid possible side effects (such as a drug interaction) and maintain your continuity of care.
Informed consent is one way to help you make a well-informed decision. The doctors, nurses, or other clinical trial medical staff will explain what the study is about, including:
  • Study purpose
  • How long the study will last (duration)
  • Potential risks to your health
  • Possible health benefits 
It Is Your Right to Ask Questions
You should never hesitate to ask questions before, during, or after a clinical trial because your health is involved.
What should you ask? Listed below are general questions. You can add your specific questions to the list if you like.
  • What is the purpose of the clinical trial?
  • Has this treatment (eg, drug) been studied before?
  • Why am I a candidate for this clinical trial?
  • Who pays for me to participate?
  • Are my trial-related expenses reimbursed?
  • Do I need to undergo testing, such as blood work or x-rays?
  • How long will the trial last?
  • What happens during a regular study follow-up appointment?
  • What side effects may I experience? Could any be life threatening?
  • How do I know the treatment is working?
  • Is long-term follow-up care offered after the clinical trial is over?
  • If I have more questions, who do I ask? 
While a clinical trial may provide you with early access to a treatment or novel prevention or diagnostic method, a successful outcome cannot be guaranteed. If you are considering participation in a clinical trial, involve your treating doctor in your decision-making process.
Last updated on: February 28, 2011