Research Studies FAQ

What is a research study?

A research study (also known as a clinical trial) is a series of procedures designed to test the safety and effectiveness of investigational medications or treatments.

Do I need medical insurance to participate in a research study?

No, medical insurance is not required. Eligible study participants will receive study-related medical examinations and study-related medication at no cost to make sure they are treated as safely as possible. Research studies are also overseen by medical ethics committees to ensure participants are being treated properly.

Are research studies safe?

Why should I join a research study?

Participation in research studies will allow access to new treatments and procedures. As a participant, you will also help others by allowing the advancement of medical science.

Who can participate in a research study?

What are my rights as a research study participant?

What questions should I ask?

  • What is the purpose of this study?
  • How long will I be in the study?
  • What kinds of tests and procedures are involved?
  • Is there a chance I may receive a placebo (an inactive substance)?
  • Can I leave the study at any time?
  • Are my records kept confidentially?
  • How do the risks, side effects, and benefits compare with my current treatment?
  • Are there alternative treatments available?

The answer to these questions can also be found in the informed consent form.

How does a research study work?

Research studies are supervised by a qualified doctor, or group of doctors, researchers, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. If interested in participating, you will meet with someone from the study team that will explain and discuss the study with you. If after the discussion you still want to participate, the study team member will give you an informed consent form to read and sign. The informed consent describes what you can expect from the trial. It includes things like: frequency of study visits, what procedures will be done during the study, and any potential benefits and/or risks of participating in the study. It is very important that you take the time to review all of this information before agreeing to participate in the study. If you have any questions regarding the informed consent form you should discuss them with the doctor or study coordinator. Once you have read through the informed consent, had all of your questions answered, and understand the details of the study, you may sign the informed consent form. After signing the informed consent, information will be collected to see if you qualify for the study. Once your eligibility is confirmed, you will be enrolled in the study. You should note that different studies have different requirements, but you can generally expect:

  • To be assigned to a group that takes medication or to a group that takes a placebo (an inactive product, like a sugar pill)
  • To have your medical history reviewed
  • To have a physical exam
  • To have your blood drawn for study specific tests
  • To be asked to complete all of your study visits
  • To have your health checked throughout your time in the study