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What is a clinical trial?

Clinical trials are an important step in getting new medications or medical devices approved for patients. Through clinical trials we can find out if new products are safe as well as how effective they are at treating a condition. All clinical trials follow strict U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules. Once the information from a clinical trial is collected, it is sent to the FDA for approval. Not all clinical trials result in approved devices or drugs, but every device or drug was part of a clinical trial. 

Why should I take part in a clinical trial?

First and foremost, you are helping people. Your participation can help get innovative medical products to the patients who depend on them quickly. Currently there is a movement to inform people about how clinical research can be used as a healthcare option. So participating in clinical trials may also help you take a more proactive role in your health. Plus, most studies are free--everything from medications to doctor visits are paid for by the study sponsor.

Are clinical trials safe?

Yes. Before starting the trial, you will be given an informed consent form outlining the details of the research study. This form includes information on why the study is being conducted, how long it will last, procedures you may need to undergo, contact information, risks, and possible benefits. In addition, as stated above, all clinical studies follow rigorous FDA rules. 

How many studies can I be part of?

You can take part in as many clinical studies as you qualify for, but you can only be part of one study at a time.

What if I don't qualify for a study?

If you don't qualify for a specific study, that's okay. There will be other studies for you to take part in. 

Are there questions I should ask before I say yes to a clinical trial?

• Why is this trial being conducted?
• Should I tell my family doctor that I'm part of a study?
• Does the new medicine treat any other conditions?
• Is there a possibility I will receive a placebo?
• Can I take my current prescriptions during the study?
• How much does the study cost?
• What if I decide I don't want to be part of the study?
• How do I tell my friends and family about clinical research?

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