Participating in a Clinical Trial FAQs

Are you thinking about joining an upcoming clinical trial but you have questions? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) that would-be participants are likely to ask.

What benefits do I get from participating in a clinical trial?

  • Excellent medical care, closely monitored and beyond the level of regular care
  • The opportunity to receive early treatment that may help treat your condition
  • The opportunity to contribute to medical research
  • No cost, expenses covered and in many trials a small stipend is offered

Am I assured of getting the new treatment?

Not necessarily. A clinical trial requires that some people receive the experimental treatment and some get either an alternate treatment or a placebo. Who goes in which group is determined randomly and the information is kept secret until the trial.

What happens if I get a placebo?

The ethics standards followed by clinical trials in this country require that you receive the best medical care possible. So even if you don’t get the experimental treatment, you still receive excellent medical care available for your particular condition.

Can I receive treatment without knowing about it?

No. The law requires that you give “informed consent” to anything medical that is done.

Can I quit?

Yes. You can resign from a study at any time, without prejudice. Obviously, if too many people resign from a study, it can’t adequately test a new treatment. If you resign, you will be asked why you want to leave the study.

Do I have to give up my doctor?

No. Your regular doctor will still look after your general health. The people from the clinical trial center will also keep your regular doctor updated.

How long does a clinical trial last?

It varies from study to study. A study must last long enough to gather good information, but it is in everyone’s interest to make the study as quick as possible.