To help you make your decision, here are 10 questions about clinical trials that you might want to ask your doctor.
1. What is the aim of this trial?
a. How does the trial relate to my condition?
b. How might I benefit from the trial?
c. What are the pros and cons of taking part?
5. Has the new treatment been tested in any other trials?
a. What were the results?
b. What is known about the risks and side effects?
c. How is the new treatment given – is it a pill (how many?) or an injection (how often?)
8. Who will be in charge of my care during the trial?
a. Who do I call in an emergency or if I have questions?
1. What is the new treatment? How does it work? Is it safe?
2. Why do you think it is better than the existing treatment?
3. Will the trial treatment help me? How will I know that it has worked?
4. Could it be worse than the standard treatment?
5. What are the side effects of the new treatment compared to the existing treatment?
6. Has it been tested in anyone else? Did it cause a lot of side-effects? Did it help anyone?
7. How will the new treatment be given? What will be involved? How often will I have to come to the hospital for tests and appointments?
8. What treatment would I take if I did not consent for the clinical trial?
9. What treatment could I take if the clinical trial treatment does not work for me? Can I change to the new treatment if I first have to take the old treatment and it doesn’t work?
10. Will I be notified of the results when the trial is finished and data is published?
11. If the trial requires tissue samples to be taken – what happens to this tissue? can anyone else access it ? Will it be available to anyone else when the trial ends?
12. Will anyone else have access to my data while I am on the trial or when the trial is finished?
13. Is there any long term follow up and if so how is done?
14. Will the results of the trial be made publically available to anyone who wishes to see them – ie open publication?
15. Will I be allowed to continue with any supplements/ complementary treatments whilst taking part in the trial?
16. Will I be kept in a small cage? Do I have to run on the treadmill? Can I eat carrots instead of lettuce (I don’t like lettuce)? I’m going to be a guinea-pig in this trial?
OK, we admit that this last one is not a typical question, but a good reminder that patients are never guinea pigs in clinical trials!