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Should You Be In A Clinical Trial?

Everyday we hear the results of new medical studies.  Did you ever wonder "Who are all these people in these studies?"  Did you ever wonder if YOU should be in a clinical trial?

Many people think that clinical trials are only for patients who are very ill or affected by a rare disease.  But just about any one could be in a study--from healthy individuals to those in all stages of various illnesses.  And not all trials test new or "experimental" medications.  They also test approved drugs, devices, surgical techniques, and lifestyle changes such as smoking cessation, diet and exercise.

Why bother?  Many study patients have positive motives: they want to do something to help others.  But being in a clinical trial can also have personal benefits:  clinical trial participants often get medical care by top specialists at greatly reduced or no cost.  In addition, they receive the "latest" medical therapies or even new medicines that are not yet available.

Why wouldn't someone be in a clinical trial?  The most common reason is just not knowing about one.  Other reasons include fear and concerns about safety, ethics, privacy, and past research abuses.  Most of these concerns have been well addressed by most medical research organizations.  In fact, a recent survey revealed that 3 out of 4 clinical trial participants would recommend the experience to others.

Created: 1/13/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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