Is a clinical trial right for me?

Questions to ask when thinking about taking part in a clinical trial

Facts about the study

  • What is the purpose of the study?
  • Who is running the study?
  • Who is paying for the study?
  • Who has reviewed and approved the study?
  • Who reviews the results?
  • What treatments may I receive
  • Does the study use a placebo (dummy treatment)?
  • Why do doctors believe this new treatment may work?
  • How will safety be monitored?
  • How will the results be shared?
  • How will the study keep my name and records private?

Risks and benefits

  • What are the possible short-term benefits?
  • What are the possible long-term benefits?
  • What are the short-term risks, such as side effects?
  • What are the possible long-term risks?
  • What other options for treatment do I have?
  • How do the pros and cons of my other options compare with those of the study?

What the treatment will involve

  • How long does the trial last?
  • How often do I need to come to the clinic?
  • How many times a day will I have to take the drug?
  • What other things do I need to do?
  • How is the drug given – as a pill, in a shot, or in another way?
  • What tests do I need to take?
  • Am I able to see all my test results?
  • Who treats me in the study?
  • Do I see the same doctor or nurse each time?
  • Can I keep seeing my own doctor?
  • Where will I be treated after the study?
  • What happens if the treatment makes my health worse?
  • If I take a drug that helps me, can I keep taking it after the study is over?

Personal issues and support

  • Can I talk with people already enrolled in the study before I decide to take part?
  • How could being in the study affect my daily live?
  • What support is available for me and my family?
  • Does a social worker (or other trained person) provide support and help me deal with problems?

Costs

  • What costs are covered by the trial?
  • What other costs can I expect?
  • What help with costs is available?

Questions to ask yourself

  • Is helping to find better treaments important to me?
  • Can I accept the changes a trial may make in my daily life?
  • Am I committed enough to
    • Take the drug as often as I should?
    • Go to the clinic as needed?
    • Stick with the trial as long as it lasts?
  • Am I willing to follow all of a trial’s policies?
  • Are the pros of taking part greater than the cons?
  • Do I have the support of my friends and family?

Based on AIDS clinical trials: Talking it Over NIH and Facts About Clinical Trials in Vision Research, National Eye Institute

Published: October 14, 2010
Last edited: January 20, 2011