29 Apr Clinical Trials: Fact or Fiction
Clinical trials are an integral part of medical research and advancements. However, many common misconceptions about clinical trials may impact a person’s decision about whether or not to participate. Are your beliefs about clinical trials fact or fiction?
Clinical trial participants are treated like human guinea pigs.
FICTION. Many people believe that participating in clinical trials means being poked and prodded with little to no medical gain. This is a very common misconception. In fact, there are many strict guidelines in place to make sure clinical trial participants are treated with the highest quality of care. Before enrolling, physicians are required to obtain documented informed consent from each patient for all investigative treatments. Patients also have the right to withdraw from a trial at any time, for any reason.
If I sign up for a clinical trial, I might get a placebo, not a real drug.
FACT. Many trials are placebo controlled, meaning that one group of study patients receives a product that looks exactly like the study drug but without any active ingredients. Some studies are designed this way to help researchers determine what outcomes are directly correlated to the drug, and what outcomes could be attributed to other factors.
However, some studies are not placebo controlled. Sometimes, all participants receive the investigative treatment, or the investigational treatment is compared to an existing treatment. You will know if the study is placebo controlled before you enroll. Many studies also offer the option to receive the study drug at no-cost to you once the study is complete, whether or not you initially received a placebo. You can ask a study representative about this when you request more information about the trial.
It is expensive to participate and my insurance may not cover it.
FICTION. Volunteers for clinical trials rarely have to pay for treatment. Many studies do not even require participants to have insurance because the cost of care is built in to the overall budget of the trial. If a trial does require insurance for some or all of the cost of care, most insurances will cover it. Many trials even compensate you for your time and travel expenses.
ALL medical drugs, treatments, and devices must go through the clinical trial process.
FACT. In order to gain FDA approval, all new medical advances must go through the clinical trial process. This includes drugs, vaccines, medical devices, and therapies. Every modern medical advancement has been made possible by clinical researchers and patient volunteers.
I would have to give up all of my usual medical treatments to join a clinical trial.
FICTION. Many trials are designed to work alongside other treatments for patients, hoping that the combination of the two treatments will give the best results. However, some studies do require patients give up certain treatments that may have negative effects on your health and study results.