Clinical trials play a vital role in finding new ways to detect and treat diseases. Without them, medical advancements won’t happen. Participants may be hesitant to participate in a clinical trial because they don’t understand the process or have misconceptions about what to expect. Here we dispel five common myths about clinical research trials.
1. Clinical Trials Are Dangerous
Some level of risk is involved when participating in clinical trials. However, research drugs undergo a rigorous testing process and are only given to trial participants when there’s evidence that they’re likely to be safe and effective.
All clinical trials are different. However, keeping you safe is the number one priority when you enroll in a clinical trial. Participants of research studies are closely monitored for adverse side effects by a team of experienced medical staff. You can expect to receive regular assessments to help ensure your well-being throughout the trial.
2. Once You Enroll, You’re Stuck
Prior to participating in a clinical trial volunteers sign a consent form and are informed of their rights. Some people hesitate to participate in clinical trials because they believe that they won’t be able to withdraw once the trial has started.
While the commitment of the participants is crucial for trial success, participants have a right to withdraw from the trial if they decide to. It’s common to complete a questionnaire stating your reason for withdrawal. This is meant to help researchers understand the reason for dropouts in order to improve study retention.
If you feel the need to drop out of a trial, you can do so — for any reason. Participants of clinical trials drop out for a number of reasons, be it a change in time commitment, uncomfortable side effects, or a change in circumstances.
3. You Have to Have a Specific Medical Condition
Clinical trials help find advancement for diseases, but it’s not necessary for you to have the disease to participate. In research studies, participants who are free of the condition being studied are referred to as healthy controls, and they play a vital role in comparing the results to the group being studied.
For example, a clinical trial may need healthy volunteers for a diabetes study to compare to the group that does have diabetes. If you’re interested in participating in clinical trials, then you’re not limited to only participating in studies related to a condition you may have.
4. Most People Are Ineligible
In order to study a particular treatment, careful participant selection is important. For this reason, researchers use specific criteria to choose volunteers. This does not mean that most people who wish to enroll will be turned away. Acceptance criteria vary based on the condition to be studied and the design of the trial.
For example, if a clinical trial is for a blood pressure medication, then researchers are careful to not select volunteers that currently take medications known to increase blood pressure. This is because the results may not be accurate because other factors are affecting the blood pressure of those potential volunteers.
You can often check eligibility criteria beforehand to find out if you’re eligible to enroll. It’s typical to undergo a selection interview where your eligibility will be assessed. However, people who meet the eligibility criteria for a particular clinical trial are often accepted.
5. You Won’t Know the Results
After participating in a clinical trial, you’ll likely want to know the results. It’s a common myth that research results are withheld from participants. After the trial has ended, the results are published in a scientific journal. It may take some time for the completed trial to be published.
However, once it is, you will have access to the results of the study and will find out whether or not the treatment was effective.
Clinical trials are key to advancements in medicine, and volunteers make it possible. Key Biologics (A Cellero Company) provides human cell and blood components to support clinical research. Contact us to learn more.