5 Things Participants Need To Know About Clinical Trials

Research plays a vital role in everyday life. It’s what brings about innovations that make life easier and more efficient.

That said, different industries undertake trials to better their niche, and one of the best known for doing tests is the health industry. Here, they’re referred to as clinical trials. 

Clinical trials serve different purposes, all intending to improve health care, such as developing cures for long-term illnesses. There are many participants in a clinical trial. You require the researcher in charge of the trial, a sponsor(s) to fund the process since clinical trials tend to be expensive, and a team that’ll collect and analyze your data. Last but not least, you also require participants. These participants are referred to as patients in clinical trials, which is where this article bases its discussion. 

The article aims to enlighten those willing to participate in clinical trials by highlighting what they need to know before committing to a clinical trial. Read on for this insight. 

  1. Extent Of Care

As previously stated, clinical trials surround many things that directly impact the health of those participating in the trial. Therefore, a lot of care is essential. For instance, if the clinical trial involves you taking potential cures, you want to be sure that the staff will take care of your health during this time.


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Check that the research facility has enough resources to take care of you during this period. These include the necessary technology to monitor your health vitals as you try the medication. To give you a detailed idea, here’s the full post on some examples of clinical trial technology. This will give you the insight to help you vet the technology the research facility has. 

Qualified and adequate staff is also an important resource to be aware of. The staff will take care of you providing you with proper nutrition, closely monitoring your progress, and taking appropriate action should your body react negatively to a given medication. 

  1. Aim Of The Trial

A clinical trial can have a number of goals, such as creating a new drug, manufacturing new medical devices, curing illnesses, etc. This variability makes it important to fully understand what you’re getting into before becoming a patient for tests.

In some situations, you might find a patient who enrolls for a clinical trial only to want to drop out midway, which isn’t ideal. So, it’d help to ask those in charge what the trial entails and its end goal. You want to be sure to consider all the factors before you decide to participate in the trial.

Also, information regarding the trial’s aim lets you gauge if you’re the right patient to be tested on. Suppose the clinical trial aims to develop a cancer drug. In this case, you must have cancer to be qualified to participate.

  1. Length Of Trial

Most clinical trials are done in phases by the researchers. In most cases, the different stages make the process lengthy, with some taking months or even years to complete. With such an unpredictable timeframe, you must know how long the trial will take. Why?

This is because you’d want to be certain of your availability during this period. Suppose the trial will take eight months. Will you be available for the entire eight months? You only want to participate in a clinical trial you’ll have time for, especially if it involves ingesting or injecting a medication. The process and side effects might also make you bedridden for a certain period, so you want to set aside time for ample recovery as well.  



  1. Regulations

Regulations are essential to learn before deciding to join a trial. Most researchers formulate rules to be followed that ensure a seamless and quality procedure. As a participant, you must adhere to these regulations, failure to which you’ll likely be asked to leave or suffer the associated consequences. Therefore, it’s important to read the fine print of your agreement before participating.

Besides the clinical trial regulations, it’s crucial to look out for yourself. Clinical trials require a lot of your data, which is often sensitive. So, you need to be certain that the research facility handling the clinical trial will protect your data from getting into the wrong hands. Inquire about the data privacy and protection measures the researchers have implemented. It’d also help to research the associated standards of clinical trials and check to see if the clinical trial you’re participating in adheres to them. After all, your safety is always paramount.

  1. Associated Costs

In most cases, you won’t be required to make payments for participating in a clinical trial. Most researchers actually pay patients for participating in the trial. However, despite this being the norm, you shouldn’t automatically assume the same applies to your chosen clinical trial.

Instead, it’s good practice to ask the team in charge of the clinical trial whether you’ll incur any costs, such as administration, extra care, etc. If you have to part with money out of your pocket, you want to incur the least expenditure. To do so, inquire if your health insurance can cater to the expenses.

Conclusion

Being a participant in a clinical trial is often risky since many health hazards are involved. Therefore, it’s important to be knowledgeable about clinical trials. This article sheds light on the essential things you need to know about becoming a trial patient. Be sure to learn about them and ask those in charge of the trial before committing yourself to the decision.

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"Dr. Harry Delany is a renowned Harlem born and raised surgeon, the son of the great jurist and civil rights leader, Hubert Delany...." This monthly post is made in partnership with Harlem Cultural Archives.

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