Choosing to participate in a clinical trial is a personal decision that only you can make for yourself. It’s important to have all relevant information at your fingertips. In addition to talking with your physician, family members, and friends, these 10 frequently asked questions will help you make the best decision.
Why Are Clinical Trials Important?
Clinical trials are so important because they are designed to carefully test new methods of diagnosing, treating, or preventing dangerous health conditions. From diabetes and high cholesterol to Alzheimer’s disease and polio, clinical trials have made it possible for high-risk patients to receive the treatments and vaccinations they need.
Who Can Participate in a Clinical Trial?
Each clinical trial establishes its own unique participation guidelines. This is known as “inclusion/exclusion criteria,” which is an essential way to produce reliable results by only including volunteers who fit the specific focus of the study.
Depending on the clinical trial, criteria may include age, gender, type and stage of disease, and current prescription use. Some studies only need healthy individuals, while others seek out patients with specific illnesses, disabilities, or chronic conditions.
What is a Placebo?
A placebo is a pill or other treatment that has no therapeutic effect. It’s essentially inactive, like a sugar pill. Clinical trial volunteers are always informed of whether or not a placebo will be used in their study. Placebos are most frequently used to establish a control group that isn’t influenced by an active drug or experimental treatment.
Are Clinical Trials Safe?
Numerous measures and safeguard are in place to ensure every clinical trial participant’s safety. Every clinical trial must first be approved and monitored by an Institutional Review Board. The IRB consists of nurses, doctors, community members, and other experts who evaluate the elements of each clinical trial to make sure the risks are as low as possible.
In addition to the oversight provided by the IRB, clinical trial organizers carefully follow a protocol that takes specific measures to perform research without placing participants in danger. Volunteers are always free to withdraw from a clinical trial if necessary.
Can Children Participate in Clinical Trials?
Yes, children can participate in clinical trials. Pediatric patients can be enrolled in clinical research for cancer and other critical health threats, as well as more common illnesses or conditions.
What is Informed Consent?
Informed consent is an important term in the world of clinical trials. It represents that a clinical trial volunteer has learned the key facts of the study and understands what will occur throughout the trial. The trial’s research team, which leads the study, must provide an informed consent document to every volunteer. This document includes all relevant information, such as the study’s purpose, length, required procedures, risks, and benefits. In order to give informed consent, each volunteer must sign the document.
Why Do People Volunteer for Clinical Trials?
Volunteers choose to participate in clinical trials for a range of reasons. Many hope to gain access to new drugs and other treatments before they’re available to the public. For example, a cancer patient may be able to undergo a life-saving treatment in a clinical trial years before it’s approved by the FDA.
Other volunteers feel inspired to take an active role in their own healthcare or use their health or disease to make a valuable contribution to the scientific and medical communities.
Are Clinical Trial Volunteers Paid or Charged?
Every clinical trial is unique. In most cases, a clinical trial’s sponsor pays for all costs incurred by the research process and special testing. Volunteers or their insurance companies may be responsible for covering the cost of routine tests and procedures, but not in all cases. Some clinical trials even offer paid incentives to encourage participants to join.