You may consider taking part in a study because you could benefit from the new study treatment that would otherwise not be available to you, or because you want to help researchers to improve the treatments for future patients.
You might consider not taking part in a study because:
- The experimental treatment may not work for you, or it could make your condition worse.
- The experimental treatment may cause side effects that no one anticipated.
- Your health insurance may not cover research procedures.
- If the trial is randomized and includes a placebo (an inactive, dummy pill), you may not be given the experimental treatment.
- The amount of testing for efficacy and safety purposes may involve too many trips to the research office and take too much time.
Before you decide to participate, you should ask questions and you should feel comfortable with the answers. Much of this information can usually be found in the informed consent form the researcher will go over with you. Some questions to consider asking are:
- What is the study about?
- If I am ill, will this research help me?
- How does the study differ from normal health care for the condition?
- Is the study controversial?
- What are the risks?
- What is involved? What will I have to do?
- Can I take my regular medication while I'm participating? Can I see my own doctor?
- Will I have any extra cost? Will I be compensated for my participation?
- How can I end my participation if I change my mind?
- What will happen when the study is over? Will I be told the results?
- Who can I contact to express concerns or get more information?
The U.S. Office of Human Research Protection has A list of questions to ask before deciding if you what to participate in research available online in English and Spanish.