Saturday, November 8, 2008

Important Questions To Ask Your Physician If You Want To Be In A Clinical Trial

Participating in a clinical trial can be a very rewarding experience, both personally and altruistically.  But before entering a clinical trial, there are several questions to ask your physician or the principal investigator of the clinical trial:

  1. Am I a good candidate for this clinical trial?
  2. Will trial participation enhance my medical care in any specific way?
  3. Does participation in this trial give me access to medicine that is not yet available to the general public?
  4. Is there a chance that I will be in the placebo group?  If I am in the placebo group, will I have a chance to try the study medication after the trial?
  5. How long is the trial?
  6. Where is the trial being conducted?
  7. What treatments will be used and how?
  8. What is the main purpose of the trial?
  9. How will patients' safety be monitored?
  10. What are the known risks (short-term side effects and longer term effects) of this study medication?
  11. What are the possible benefits of the study medication?
  12.  Can I opt to remain on this treatment, even after termination of the trial?
  13. What are the alternative treatments besides the one being tested in the trial?
  14. Who is sponsoring the trial?
  15. Do I have to pay for any part of the trial?
  16. What happens if I am harmed by the trial?
  17. Are there certain behaviors or activities I will have to avoid during the trial (e.g. smoking, drinking, getting pregnant)?
  18. Are there certain behaviors (e.g. diet, exercise, contraception) that I will have to practice during the trial?
  19. What are the risks if I were to get pregnant during this trial?
  20. How will my medical costs be handled during the trial?
  21. Will I be asked to take invasive medical tests that I would not otherwise need?
  22. What kind of time commitment will I be making per required visit by participating in this trial?
  23. Will I be compensated for travel, childcare or other incidental expenses?
  24. How will this trial add to the body of medical knowledge in this field?
  25. Will the results of this trial potentially impact my own medical care?
  26. When do you anticipate the results of the clinical trial being available to the medical community?