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What Are Clinical Trials All About?

WebMD recently published lots of information on clinical trials. There’s more here than one person can possibly retain, so take small bites!

Is a Clinical Trial Right For You?
Clinical trials are experiments. As such, they may involve risks, often serious ones. You have no guarantee how the trial will turn out if you choose to enroll. You also may undergo discomfort, inconvenience, and expense that you would not have had otherwise. Only you can decide whether joining a clinical trial is worthwhile or not, based on how you value the possible benefits and risks.

What to Expect in a Clinical Trial
Every clinical trial is a bit different so there is no typical trial.
Still, you may want to see an example of what a clinical trial really involves before joining. Here, we’ve created a fictional clinical trial designed to last one year. The description below resembles the “procedures section” you would find in the trial’s informed consent document.

Clinical Trials: Benefits and Risks
People participate in a clinical trial for many reasons. Healthy people may join clinical trials to contribute to medical science and improve medical knowledge and care for others. If you have a specific illness, clinical trials offer access to new approaches that are often not available otherwise. You should understand that clinical trials are still experiments. They
involve risks. Here are some of the risks the NIH urges you to consider before joining a clinical trial.

Clinical Trials: Your Rights and Informed Consent
Informed consent is a crucial aspect of clinical trials. Informed consent is the process of giving you all of the information that you need to make an informed decision about a research experiment.

Clinical Trials: 10 Questions to Ask
Before joining a clinical trial, you should feel comfortable and fully informed. The National Library of Medicine suggests a series of questions to ask before you enroll in a clinical trial, which we’ve adapted below. You should know the answers to all of these questions before you enroll.

Concerns for Women, Children and Genetic Privacy in Clinical Trials
The focus of clinical trials has changed in recent years. For decades, researchers mostly enrolled adult men and older women in clinical trials, but the number of studies devoted to children has grown enormously since 1997. Clinical trials that include genetic tests have also become increasingly common. These new developments have changed who enters clinical trials and the potential risks you may experience if you choose to enroll.

12 Answers to Common Questions About Clinical Trials

Glossary of Terms Used in Clinical Trials

If you’ve participated in a trial, I’d love to know what you thought and how it went. Please leave a comment or e-mail me.

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