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    A Guide to Clinical Trials for Arthritis Patients

    Clinical Trial Treatment

    There are some differences in receiving arthritis treatment in a clinical trial vs. receiving regular treatment. You may receive more exams and tests than are usually given for your particular condition. The purpose of these tests is to follow your progress and collect study data. Of course, tests can carry certain benefits and risks or discomforts of their own. Although they can be inconvenient, these tests can assure an extra ounce of observation along the way.

    Depending on the type of clinical trial you are participating in, you may be asked to stop or change medications you are currently taking. You may also be asked to change your diet or any activities that may affect the outcome of the trial.

    Some clinical trials are double-blind, placebo-controlled. This means that the clinical trial participants may receive the real drug or an inactive substance that looks exactly like the drug (called a placebo). Neither the participant nor the doctor will know which drug the patient is receiving. This is done to make certain that the real drug is effective.

    Clinical trial participants are willing volunteers. Even though patients may be asked by their doctors to take part in a clinical trial, it is up to each patient to make the final decision.

    Informed Consent

    Informed consent means that as a patient, you are given all available information so you can understand what is involved in a specific clinical trial. The doctors and nurses conducting the trial will explain the treatment to you, including its possible benefits and risks.

    You will be given an informed consent form to read and consider carefully. Before signing, be sure you find out as much as possible about the clinical trial, including what risks you may face. Ask the doctor or nurse to explain parts of the form or the trial that are not clear.

    You are free to decide whether or not you want to take part in the trial. If you decide to participate, you will sign the consent form. If you do not want to participate in the trial, you may refuse to sign the consent form. If you choose not to participate in the trial, your care will not be affected in any way.

    Your signature on the informed consent form does not bind you to the study. Even if you sign the form, you are free to leave the trial at any time to receive other available treatments.

    The informed consent process is ongoing. After you agree to participate in a clinical trial, you will continue to receive any new information about your treatment that may affect your willingness to stay in the trial.

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