A Newbie’s Guide To Participating In A Clinical Trial

Making the decision to complete a clinical study for the first time isn't easy. Not only are you trying medication that has yet to be approved, but the entire clinical process is new to you, too. Fortunately, you don't have to go into the study not knowing what to expect. Learn what happens during clinical trials so that you know what to expect.

Getting the Details of the Study

After you've shown interest in a clinical trial, your doctor or the clinical staff will set aside time to discuss the details of the clinical trial with you. They'll review why they are doing the clinical trial, what they hope to achieve, and explain any medications that you have to take. They should also explain any possible side effects of the medication to you clearly. After you've discussed the details of the trial, you'll be asked whether or not you want to participate. If you don't want to participate in the trial, you should let them know before proceeding any further.

Screening Appointment

The screening appointment is what determines whether or not you qualify to participate in the trial. Because every clinical trial is different, the exact tests that are done during screening appointments vary. However, you should expect a clinical worker to go over your medical history. In some cases, you'll also need to provide blood and/or urine samples for the screening tests. Once the tests are complete, your doctor will inform you whether or not you qualify to participate in the trial.

Baseline Visit

A baseline visit is the first visit during a clinical trial. During this visit, you are given the study drugs, as well as given exact instructions and the proper dosage. In most cases, you'll be asked to keep a journal that details each dosage you've taken and any side effects you've experienced. You'll also be given a schedule of appointments so that you know when you're supposed to come to the clinic for your clinical monitoring visits.

Clinical Monitoring Visits

Clinical trials vary in length. Some studies only last a few days, while others last years. Because of this, the frequency of clinical monitoring appointments varies. If you're completing a long clinical trial, you can expect more frequent appointments in the beginning of the trial so that your health and your body's reaction to the medication can be closely monitored. As the study progresses, the visits should become less frequent.

When you go to your clinical monitoring visit, you need to bring your journal and medications with you. You can expect the doctor to review all the information that you've gathered since your last visit and check your vital signs. Sometimes, the doctor might request blood and/or urine samples or order tests, such as an electrocardiogram.

The End of the Study

When the study is over, you'll have a final appointment. During this appointment any medication that you didn't take will be collected. You should also expect to go through the same tests that you were given at your screening appointment. Before you leave, your doctor will schedule a follow-up appointment with you or tell you when to call to make a follow-up appointment.

Completing a clinical trial for the first time can be fun and a little scary. However, knowing what to expect during the trial process and how often clinical monitoring appointments occur will help you determine whether the trial is something that you'd like to do. Contact a company like J. Garefino Consulting for more information.