Clinical Trial


Clinical trial volunteers make new medicines possible.

Joining a clinical trial is a deeply personal choice. With so many factors to consider, the decision may feel overwhelming. The information provided here is designed to help you make an informed choice about participating in a clinical trial.

About Clinical Trials

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What is a clinical trial?

A clinical trial is a scientific study that assesses a drug or therapy in people. Clinical trials may also be called clinical studies or clinical research. Clinical research helps us answer specific questions about the drug being studied, such as whether it is safe and effective.

The path to developing a new medicine is a rigorous journey that may have stops and starts along the way. The process and duration can look different depending on the study, but no matter what, the research team will do what it takes to ensure each medicine is tested thoroughly.

10 Things You Need To Know About Clinical Trials

Who is involved in clinical trials?

Considering Participation

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Who can participate?

Every day, all over the world, countless people are involved in clinical trials, on the quest to find new and improved medicines. These medicines may offer potential treatment options for generations to come. Clinical trials provide valuable information that might help improve medical research and knowledge. But at the core of clinical research are the study participants who make it all possible.

People choose to participate in clinical trials for a variety of reasons. They may want to monitor and better understand their own disease or help advance medical research that may benefit others. Whatever the motivation, choosing to participate in a clinical trial is a personal and individual decision.

How to choose a trial?

Every clinical trial is unique. Anyone interested in participating in a clinical trial should know as much as possible about the study and feel comfortable asking the research team questions about the study, the related procedures, and any expenses.

Before meeting with the research coordinator or study doctor, plan ahead and write down some questions to ask. You may also wish to discuss this decision with your family, friends, or doctor. Feel free to bring a friend or relative with you for support and to hear the responses to your questions.

The following questions might be helpful during such a discussion:

What To Expect

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What happens before the trial?

Before joining a clinical trial, participants are given information about the study and have the chance to ask questions. This process is called informed consent. The purpose of the informed consent process is to make sure participants understand important details about the clinical trial so they can make an informed choice about participating. Informed consent begins before a research volunteer agrees to participate in a trial and continues throughout the study.

The informed consent document describes the study details. It includes the study’s purpose, length, procedures, risks and benefits, and other information that all participants should know. After discussing the study details, volunteers will sign the informed consent document. There may be more than one document for a study. The informed consent document is not a contract. Participants may withdraw from a study at any time, even if the study is not over.

How am I protected during the trial?

The ethical and legal codes that govern medical practice also apply to clinical trials. In addition, most clinical research is federally regulated with built-in safeguards to protect the participants.

What happens after my trial?