Participating in a study is one of the greatest and most fulfilling ways to give back to your community. In research, communities are classified in a variety of ways including people with the same disease, those who are healthy versus those who are not, people living in a specific geographical location, and even people of the same sex, age, or ethnic group. These characteristics are a strong component in the foundation of any clinical trial.
Treatments prescribed during a clinical trial are considered experimental as they have not been approved by the FDA. Though there are risks associated with every new treatment, doctors and researchers conducting clinical trials take every step necessary to ensure that study participants are safe.
For people who have been diagnosed with life-threatening or chronic illnesses, clinical trials offer the chance to try a new treatment. This is especially beneficial for those who have had little or no success with the standard FDA-approved treatments. Another common reason people choose to participate in a study is that is offers a way to champion a cause and the battle to prevent and defeat a specific illness or condition—a swaying factor for many who have loved ones who have struggled with chronic disease.
People who elect to participate in a clinical trial aren't just protected physically—they are protected by HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) which mandates that personal information related to the patient or participant be guarded and protected. This ensures that patients' information is never leaked or compromised, keeping the details of their medical history safe and confidential.
Choosing to participate in a trial is a personal decision that should be considered carefully. However, most study participants find it to be a fulfilling if not beneficial experience. If at any time you wish to withdraw from the trial, you have full control to do so. This ensures that you are always comfortable with your commitment. If you decide that being a study participant is right for you, the next step is finding a trial that is compatible with your needs or characteristics. Remember that researchers aren't just looking for people with illness or disease—they often need healthy participants too.
The following links provide more information about clinical trials and how to participate: