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Should I participate in a clinical trial?

Understanding the patient's role in medical research and clinical trials

Participating in a clinical trial may provide individuals first access to the newest drugs, treatments or disease management processes. Learn more about participation in medical research with this information.

What is a clinical trial?
What happens in a trial?
Who can participate?
Why should I enter a clinical trial?
What are the risks?
How will I be protected?

Questions patients should ask researchers

Asking questions may help you decide whether to enter a clinical trial.

What is the study trying to find out?

Who put it together?

Who is going to be in the study?

Who will be in charge of my care?

What exams, tests and treatments will I have?

Will I need to be hospitalized?

How much time will it take?

How do the possible side effects, risks and benefits of the study treatment compare with my current treatment and other choices?

How will I be protected from harm?

How long will the study last?

What follow-up is planned?

Who will pay for the treatment and other expenses?

How will my privacy be protected?

Will I get the results?


Source: Coffey Communications; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Reviewed by: Timothy Sielaff, MD, PhD, FACS, president, Virginia Piper Cancer Institute
First Published: 08/17/2009
Last Reviewed: 08/17/2009