The great thing about clinical trials is that they allow us to find innovative and better remedies for illnesses. We learn how we can stop people from experiencing unpleasant side effects, and we provide chronic illness patients with improved prognoses. However, many people are hesitant to enroll in clinical trials because of certain myths about them. Many of these myths are not true, so let’s take a look at some of the most prominent untruths about clinical trials and what they actually mean.
Myth #1: Clinical Trials Treat Participants Like Guinea Pigs
The truth is that many of our participants report that they felt as if the researchers fully informed them about the study – and that they knew all about the risks and what the benefits would be. They felt as if the researchers always treated them well and were attentive to their needs and concerns. After they received a study nurse, many participants felt as if they were receiving extra attention.
Myth #2: In a Clinical Trial, I Am Likely to Receive a Placebo
Researchers are required to follow the rules of “standard of care,” so they are not allowed to use a placebo only in clinical trials. You must receive the standard of care drugs, but your researcher may also give you an investigational drug or a placebo in most cases.
Myth #3: I Can Only Participate in a Clinical Trial When There Is No Other Treatment Available to Me
This is definitively untrue! You may participate in a clinical trial at any stage of your illness’s progression. The trial may be the only way that you can receive new drugs that haven’t been placed on the market yet – but there are likely still standard treatment options available if you’re considering a clinical trial, meaning it’s not your only option.
Myth #4: After I Volunteer for a Clinical Trial, I Have to Remain Until the End
Patients are always in control of their decisions. Whenever you want to stop participating in a trial, you are free to do so.
Myth #5: The New Practices and Medications Used in Clinical Trials Are Dangerous
Investigational drugs have risks, but participants do not receive the medication until after it has been tested extensively. The testing ensures that the drug is safe for humans to consume. Researchers test the investigational drug throughout the course of the clinical trial to ensure that it is always safe for human consumption.
Myth #6: Clinical Trials Are Not Beneficial to Participants
A clinical trial is the only place where participants can receive investigational drugs. The trial might lead to additional visits to the clinic, lab work, and tests that they wouldn’t receive otherwise, sometimes due to financial reasons. It can also put participants in closer proximity with leading experts in the field, allowing them better access to information and perspective.
Myth #7: Clinical Trials Take Up Too Much Time
The trial may require that participants have scans, visit the clinic, and undergo various procedures and tests, but these may take the same amount of time that medical treatment already takes. A trial closely monitors a patient’s treatment, and the patient will know what is required of them before they sign the consent forms.
Myth #8: My Personal Health Information Will Be in Other People’s Hands
It is important and necessary to share your health information, but it will be treated with privacy in mind. Researchers inform participants of the information that will be shared in the trial, how they will use it, and how they will protect it. Before it is disseminated, information collected for the trial will be separated from information that identifies participants.
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