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Arthritis Health Center

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A Guide to Clinical Trials for Arthritis Patients

Clinical Trial Participation

Every clinical trial is designed to meet a specific set of research criteria. Each study enrolls patients with certain conditions and symptoms. If you fit the guidelines for a trial, you may be able to participate. In some instances, you may be required to undergo certain tests to confirm your acceptance.

Every patient faces a new world of medical terms and procedures. Fears and myths of "experimentation" or "being a guinea pig" are common concerns of arthritis patients who are thinking about participating in a clinical trial.

Even though there are always going to be fears of the unknown, understanding what is involved in a clinical trial before agreeing to participate can relieve some of your anxieties. Here's some information that may help ease your concerns:

  • The personal information gathered about you during the clinical trial will remain confidential and will not be reported with your name attached.
  • If at any time during the trial your doctor feels it is in your best interest to exit the trial and use other known treatments, you will be free to do so. This will not in any way affect your future arthritis treatment.
  • Clinical trial participants typically receive their care in the same places that the standard arthritis treatments are given -- in clinics or doctors' offices.
  • Clinical trial participants will be watched closely and data on their case will be carefully recorded and reviewed.

Important Questions to Ask About a Clinical Trial

If you are thinking about taking part in a clinical trial, find out as much as possible about the study before you decide to participate. Here are some important questions to ask:

  • What is the purpose of the clinical trial?
  • What kinds of tests and treatments does the clinical trial involve?
  • How are these tests given?
  • What is likely to happen in my case with, or without, this new research treatment? Are there standard treatment options for my arthritis, and how does the study treatment compare with them?
  • How could the clinical trial affect my daily life?
  • What side effects can I expect from the clinical trial? (Note: There can also be side effects from standard arthritis treatments and from the disease itself.)
  • How long will the clinical trial last?
  • Will the clinical trial require extra time on my part?
  • Will I have to be hospitalized? If so, how often and for how long?
  • If I agree to withdraw from the clinical trial, will my care be affected? Will I need to change doctors?

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on September 05, 2014
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