Clinical trial benefits & risks

The potential benefits of participating in a clinical trial may include the following:

  • Access to promising new treatments often not available outside the clinical-trial setting
  • Treatment that may be more effective than the standard approach
  • Close monitoring, advice, care, and support by a research team of doctors and other health care professionals who understand your disease or condition
  • The opportunity to be the first to benefit from a new method under study
  • The chance to play an active role in your own health care and gain a greater understanding of your disease or condition
  • The chance to help society by contributing to medical research. Even if you don't directly benefit from the results of the clinical trial you take part in, the information gathered can help others and adds to scientific knowledge. People who take part in clinical trials are vital to the process of improving medical care.

The potential risks of participating in a clinical trial may include the following:

  • The clinical trial may require more time than a non-clinical trial treatment such as more visits to the clinical trial site, more treatments, hospital stays, etc.
  • There may be unpleasant, serious or life threatening side effects to experimental treatments.

You should discuss with your doctor and carefully consider the potential benefits and risks of participation in a clinical trial. If you qualify to participate in a clinical trial, the decision to participate is yours to make. A medical ethics committee oversees the clinical trial to ensure all participants are appropriately treated. If you are eligible and choose to participate in a clinical trial, an informed consent document will be presented to you. The informed consent document includes detailed information about the clinical trial, what you can expect as a participant and the potential benefits and risks associated with the clinical trial. If you are dissatisfied at any time during the conduct of a clinical trial, you are free to leave the clinical trial.

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