How do I become a medical studies participant?

Throughout history, clinical trials have been an important element in learning about new drugs and treatments — but without patient participation, the medical remedies that are so ubiquitous in our lives today would not exist. Because it’s required for all drugs to go through testing before they are released on the market, volunteers for clinical trials have a major impact on medical research as a whole.

If you have never looked into it before, making the decision to join a research study may feel like a daunting one — but by understanding a little more about the process and finding the right fit, it is easier to determine if a study is a good option for you. If you’re curious about how to participate in research studies, keep reading to learn more.

How to participate in research studies

  1. Understand the phases of clinical trials

For a drug or therapy to get approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it must first go through several stages of rigorous testing, also known as phases. There are at least three phases for every clinical trial, which use different sample sizes, methodologies, and timelines to test for the safety and efficacy of the medical treatment in question. Before enrolling in any clinical trial, it is advisable to understand the different phases so you can make an informed decision about the studies you encounter.

  1. Become familiar with research study terminology

In addition to the different phases, clinical trials will use specific terminology to describe their inclusion criteria, as well as any benefits they offer for participants. Some clinical trials will offer prorated compensation to eligible participants, while others may provide travel reimbursement or cover costs associated with the study. Knowing the requirements and incentives that are offered can be helpful when it is time to start sorting through trials you may be interested in.

  1. Use a clinical trial search tool to find a good fit

Once you are familiar with how to read clinical trial listings, you can begin your search in earnest. Using a clinical trial search tool can make it easier to sort through listings and collate results in one place, making it easier to narrow down your options based on what is the best fit. 

Making an informed decision to join a research study

Joining a clinical trial can have many benefits, but there also may be some drawbacks that are important to evaluate when making enrollment decisions. While every study is required to be reviewed by an Institutional Review Board and must meet certain standards regarding protocol and study ethics, because these are investigational studies, there are still some risks involved. Discussing potential research participation opportunities with your doctor is always a good place to start — this will help you evaluate the impact that clinical trial participation may have on your current treatment regimen or condition. 

For another layer of patient protection, everyone who takes part in a clinical trial is required to provide informed consent before enrollment — research staff should provide enough information so that participants fully comprehend the risks, benefits, and alternatives to the study. Additionally, clinical trial participants can withdraw from the study at any time without penalty, so if it turns out to not be the best fit, leaving the trial is always an option.

Understanding the impact of participating in a research study

While there are certainly a few considerations to becoming a medical studies participant, there can be many benefits to enrolling in a clinical trial. Participants can not only receive access to potential new treatments and work with condition-specific medical professionals, but they can also have an incredible impact on future patients.

Whether or not a clinical trial ultimately results in the study therapy getting approved, researchers are able to use the information gained in a trial to learn more about a given condition and better understand how to treat those who are diagnosed in the future. By becoming a medical studies participant, it’s possible to have a direct impact on the patients of tomorrow, and potentially find a better treatment solution today. To learn more about studies that are currently enrolling, click the link below.