Exploring the Pros and Cons of Participating in a Clinical Trial

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(Newswire.net — October 17, 2018) — If you’re suffering from a chronic disease or acute health issue that has no consistent cure or treatment, then you may feel like all hope is lost. However, there are always other options in modern medicine. And if you’re being presented with the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial, it’s important that you start by doing your research.

What is a Clinical Research Trial?

A clinical study is intended to enhance medical knowledge around a particular issue, while also giving patients the opportunity to find healing where there currently aren’t many favorable options. These trials are typically conducted by doctors and researchers and involve human volunteers (often over a period of months or years).

“In a clinical trial, participants receive specific interventions according to the research plan or protocol created by the investigators,” the National Institute of Health explains. “These interventions may be medical products, such as drugs or devices; procedures; or changes to participants’ behavior, such as diet. Clinical trials may compare a new medical approach to a standard one that is already available, to a placebo that contains no active ingredients, or to no intervention.”

Clinical research trials are led by a research team of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. They can be sponsored or funded by medical centers, voluntary groups, pharmaceutical companies, federal agencies, or any number of private organizations.

“Today, at least 275,000 clinical trials are looking for volunteers around the world. Research cannot move forward without volunteers, but the idea of participating can be intimidating,” Matthew Krzywosz, PharmD, writes for InMyArea. “You may wonder if the benefits of participation outweigh the risks, or what it is like to be in a study for months or even years at a time. It can also be difficult to understand what is involved if you do not know anyone who has taken part.”

The Pros of Participating in a Clinical Trial

People wouldn’t participate in clinical trials if there weren’t motivating factors involved. While every situation is different, you may enjoy any or all of the following benefits:

  • You may gain access to new treatment methods that aren’t yet available to patients outside of the clinical trial.
  • You’ll likely receive more testing and personal medical attention, which can be reassuring when you’re facing a health crisis.
  • You have the opportunity to help future patients who will one day go through a similar health ordeal.

The Cons of Participating in a Clinical Trial

There’s a reason they’re called “trials.” For every possible advantage or benefit, there are also potential risks or challenges. Let’s check out a few of them:

  • A new drug or treatment is still in the trial phase because researchers don’t know as much as they’d like about its efficacy. It’s possible that the trial method could have unforeseen side effects.
  • If you participate in a randomized study, you won’t be able to choose the treatment you receive. In fact, you could actually be a part of the control group and still receive the standard treatment that you’d get if you didn’t participate in the study.
  • Your existing health insurance policy may not cover the cost of the trial – which could be pretty expensive and time-consuming.

It’s Your Decision

At the end of the day, it’s up to you whether you’ll participate in a clinical trial. Other people can explain the pros and cons, but you’re the only one who can weigh them in relation to your life. Take all factors into account and make the decision that you believe gives you the greatest chance of being happy and healthy.