Clinical trials have their drawbacks and benefits. These will vary depending on what the trial is trying to figure out and what type it is. Here are some potential drawbacks and benefits of participating in clinical trials.
Potential benefits of clinical trial participation
• Access to promising treatment that is not available yet
This treatment can have fewer side effects or be more effective than other treatments currently available.
• Treatment that may be low cost or free
During the study, some clinical trials can pay for your treatment and any other related expenses such as travel and medical care. Some may pay for only part of your treatment, and others may not cover your costs at all. Therefore, ensure you know how much it will cost you before agreeing to participate in any clinical trial.
• A chance to contribute to medical research
Participating in a clinical trial allows you to help society since the information gathered adds to scientific knowledge and assists other people in need. For example, the breast cancer treatments used today, such as tamoxifen, taxanes, and Herceptin, are available due to women who participated in clinical trials.
• Close monitoring, care, and advice from the best research doctors
The Altus Research team that oversees clinical trials consists of top scientists and doctors, such as Samuel Lederman, MD, with vast experience and knowledge in clinical research. They work together with you, providing you with the care and advice you need. And they deal with any side effects immediately.
• A chance to take part in your health care
Participating in clinical trials may make you feel like you have more control over your condition, resulting in improved quality of life and a more positive outlook.
Potential risks of clinical trial participation
• The new, promising treatment may not benefit you
At times, the treatment may not work for you even when it benefits other patients in the same clinical trial. Moreover, the new treatment may not be as effective as other treatments currently available.
• You may not be able to select the treatment you get
Research doctors randomly assign you to receive a specific treatment in randomized trials, while in other trials, they can assign you to get a sugar pill (placebo). Alternatively, in other clinical trials, both you and your doctors don’t know which treatment you’ll receive. However, if the information is required, it is available.
• Severe side effects
Generally, with Phase I and Phase II trials, there may be more severe side effects compared to the current treatments available.
• Frequent testing and doctor visits
Since you need close monitoring, you may have to visit a doctor or the hospital more often than you would if you weren’t in a trial, hence, spending more time traveling.
• Your insurance provider may not cover all the expenses
It’s vital to speak to your clinical trial coordinator and insurance company to identify what you’ll have to pay for your clinical trial before enrolling as a participant.