People choose to participate in clinical trials for a variety of reasons. Some wish to improve medical care for future generations, while others have an interest in science or the medical field. Some people have a connection to a particular disease through family or friends. Still others suffer from an illness and enroll in a clinical trial with the hope of receiving effective, state-of-the-art care. Whatever their goals, by choosing to participate in a clinical trial, these people play an integral role in the development of innovative new treatments and the accumulation of medical knowledge. That said, choosing to participate in a clinical trial is a big decision. If you’re interested in taking part, you may find it helpful to learn what you can expect before and during the study.
What to Expect from a Clinical Trial
The Sign-Up Process
To begin the process, you will need to complete an application form. Then, a member of the clinical trial team will contact you and ask you some questions to determine if you qualify for your selected study. If you meet the minimum pre-screening qualifications, you will be asked to schedule your first appointment.
During the first visit, you will receive an Informed Consent Form (ICF) explaining the study’s details and a copy of the events in the study schedule. Depending on the study, you may receive a free study-related physical to check that you qualify for the clinical trial. It may include the following components:
- Measuring your height and weight
- Taking your vitals (temperature, blood pressure, pulse)
- Collecting blood and urine samples for analysis
- Testing your heart with an electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Performing other diagnostic tests as required by the clinical trial protocol
Every study is different, but typically the physical will take about 60 minutes. Afterward, the researchers will let you know if you qualify for the study you selected. If you aren’t selected for the study, keep an eye out for future studies that interest you.
Questions to Ask Before Signing Up
Before signing up for a study, you will receive a wealth of information. Review this information with your physicians to ensure you’re making a good decision for your health, and don’t be afraid to ask the clinical trial staff lots of questions. For example, you may wish to ask the following:
- What is the purpose of the trial?
- What are the risks involved?
- What are the possible benefits?
- How long will the clinical trial last?
- Where is the trial being conducted?
- What treatments will be used?
- How will patient safety be monitored?
- What will happen if I’m harmed by some aspect of the trial?
- Can I remain on the treatment after the trial ends if I wish?
- How will I be compensated?
During the study, you will be asked to follow the schedule and procedures laid out by the clinical trial team. Typically participants receive care in the same places standard medical treatments are given, such as a doctor’s office or health clinic. Throughout the trial, your health will be closely monitored and reviewed.
What if I change my mind about participating?
You can leave the study at any time for any reason. To minimize the likelihood of this, be sure that you fully understand the study before you sign up.
Will I be paid for taking part in a clinical trial?
Most participants receive some form of compensation for taking part in a clinical trial, but this varies from study to study. Compensation may include money, the reimbursement of travel expenses, food or food vouchers, and other services.
How long do clinical trials last?
Studies range dramatically in length, from mere days to years.
Will my medical information be published?
The personal information gathered about you and your health during the trial will remain confidential. Your name will not be attached to any published data.
Are you interested in joining a clinical trial? QPS Missouri is looking for new participants. Since opening its doors in 1994, QPS Missouri has conducted over 1,000 FDA-regulated studies, paying out over $35 million to local participants. Your local participation could have a global impact, as QPS is an international leader in contract research with facilities in North America, Europe, and Asia. Our mission is to accelerate the development of drugs worldwide by enabling breakthroughs in pharmaceutical innovation. If you would like to join us in this mission, consider applying for a clinical trial.
To get started, you simply need to fill out an online application. Within 48 business hours, a recruiting coordinator will contact you for your pre-screening assessment. To learn more, please visit the QPS Missouri website, review the study participation process, or check out our list of FAQ.