What you should know about clinical research studies

What is a clinical research study?

Clinical research studies, also called clinical trials, look at an investigational medication or medical device to see if it is safe, how it works in the body, and if it works to treat a specific disease. Clinical research studies are conducted by doctors who are responsible for the study participants’ study-related care.

In most countries, the regulatory health authority, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, requires that several phases of clinical research be performed to better understand the safety and effectiveness of new investigational medications and certain medical devices.

Clinical research studies must be approved by an institutional review board (IRB) or ethics committee (EC). An IRB/EC is a group that is responsible for helping to protect the rights and welfare of study participants. In addition, every study participant is monitored with study-related medical tests and exams before, during, and sometimes even after the study.

Can I leave the study if I change my mind?

Participation in any clinical research study is completely voluntary, and participants may choose to leave the study at any time for any reason. If you would like to leave the study, you should discuss this with the investigator, who will give you information about how to do this safely.

What should I expect?

Before you can take part in a clinical trial, the investigator will explain the informed consent form to you, along with any potential risks and benefits, and your rights as a participant. The decision to participate is yours and entirely voluntary. If you decide to take part and sign the informed consent form, the investigator will conduct screening assessments to determine whether you qualify to enroll. After all necessary tests and assessments have been completed, and if you are eligible to participate, you may enter the study.

See if you may qualify