Reasons to Participate in Clinical Trials

Why Participate in a Clinical Trial?

Clinical trials cannot happen without clinical trial participants. But what drives people to volunteer their time and effort in a clinical trial?

Reasons Why People Join Clinical Trials

You want to help others like you.

In a 2019 survey of more than 3,000 clinical trial participants conducted by the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP), the top reasons people said they took part in a clinical trial were to help advance science and the treatment of their disease or condition (43%) and to help others who shared their disease/condition (35%). By joining a clinical trial, you not only help researchers learn more about whether an experimental treatment works – you help them learn whether it works for someone like you. Many patient-specific factors can affect how well a treatment works, including a patient’s age, sex, and racial and ethnic background. Diversity and representation in clinical trials helps ensure that a treatment – once approved – will benefit all patients.

You were asked to join.

Some people join clinical trials because their doctor invites them to do so. Clinical trial sponsors often inform health care providers about new trials so that providers can help connect patients with trials that might be right for them.

You are looking for access to high-quality care.

Some people join clinical trials to have access to doctors and medical care that might not otherwise be available to them. A clinical trial study treatment for a specific disease or condition will often be run by specialists who are experts in that field. Clinical trials also follow strict research protocols. These protocols, which must be approved before a trial can begin, are designed to prioritize patient safety, avoid unnecessary risk, and ensure patients receive the medical care they need.

You are looking for access to potential new treatments.

The goal of many clinical trials is to learn whether an experimental therapy offers advantages over currently available treatments. These advantages may include greater improvements in managing symptoms, fewer side effects, or a more convenient treatment. While there is no guarantee that participation in a clinical trial will improve outcomes for a participant, many people consider joining a trial because they are looking for an experimental treatment option that they cannot find anywhere else.

You are looking for a chance to learn more about your health.

In the 2019 CISCRP survey, almost one-third (29%) of clinical trial participants said they joined a trial to learn about their treatment and improve their health. Trial participants have the opportunity to learn more about their diagnosis and their treatment options. Some trials offer participants education about lifestyle changes they can make that might help manage their symptoms.

Financial reasons.

Some clinical trials cover costs of trial participation, including the costs of medical care, hospital stays, and travel to the trial site. Healthy volunteers might be paid to participate in clinical trials that are testing the safety of an experimental treatment for the first time.

Clinical trials are necessary.

Before a new drug, device, or vaccine can be approved for use by health authorities such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it must be studied in a clinical trial. The process of testing an experimental treatment in a small group of people is how we learn which treatments bring the greatest benefit to patients, while minimizing risk of harm. Treatments developed in clinical trials have led to life-saving therapies for people who previously had few or no treatment options and life-changing therapies for people who might not be able to tolerate current treatments. Clinical trials (and clinical trial participants) elevate the standard of care for everyone.

People also ask:

Why should I join a clinical trial?

The decision to join a clinical trial is a personal one. The key is to make an informed decision. If you are interested in taking part in a clinical trial, take the time to learn about the trial. Ask yourself - What are the potential benefits? What are the risks? What does that mean for me? Talk to your doctor and someone from the trial site to help answer these questions and see if the trial is right for you. Talk to others you trust with matters of healthcare, like a family member or friend.

What if I change my mind after I join?

Participating in a clinical trial is 100% voluntary. Participants can choose to leave a trial at any time for any reason – or for no reason at all.