4 Reasons to Participate in Clinical Trials

Clinical trials help further different areas of medicine by investigating new medications and treatment plans that can be effective for numerous conditions. Many people are reluctant to participate, but there are several good reasons to participate in a study if given the opportunity.

Experimental Treatments Are Not Completely Experimental

You may feel uneasy about the idea of participating in a study because you believe the treatment is completely experimental. Before new drugs or tests reach the point of wide-scale clinical trials on humans, they must meet quality standards through animal research and small-scale human studies. Based on previous studies, researchers have some indication how the treatment should affect participants.

Furthermore, clinical research is not always for testing very new treatments. Some studies use currently approved treatments. The goal of the study may be to compare the outcome of several different treatments for a medical condition, and determine which treatment is the best to use.

You Don't Have to Be Sick

Although many studies recruit participants with a medical condition to determine the effectiveness of treatments, many studies partly or wholly recruit healthy volunteers. Healthy volunteers may be needed to determine if a treatment is effective at preventing a disease or to compare the results against volunteers with a medical condition.

There are many studies for people who simply fit a certain demographic. For example, weight loss is a popular area of research and does not involve illness. The researcher may want participants to try different types of diets to determine if they are effective for long-term weight loss.

No Commitment

You may be concerned about completing the study, especially if the study is designed to be longitudinal. Although you should volunteer for research if you are serious about participating, you are under no obligation to continue the study. There are many reasons people drop out of studies, whether it is due to treatment side effects, the inability to maintain appointments or they simply lose interest.

Access to New Treatments

If you are uninsured or want to try a treatment for a current health problem, but cannot afford the out-of-pocket costs, participating in a study can be a gateway to more treatment options. This is especially important if you have a serious disease and have run out of options.

You can receive an experimental medication free of charge and typically receive compensation for your time and any travel costs. If your experimental treatment is effective, many researchers will allow you to continue the treatment, even after the conclusion of the study. Clinical research not only furthers the medical field, but also brings hope to people who may not have other options.

The idea of participating in clinical research should not bring unnecessary concerns. View participation as a way of helping the evolving landscape of medicine, or a way of enhancing your own medical treatment if you face financial barriers.