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What are the risks and benefits of participating in clinical research?


ANNOUNCER: There are risks and benefits to participating in clinical research, much like there are risks and benefits to everyday activities.

Risks to participating in clinical research depend on the type of research. Usually, clinical studies pose the risk of only minor discomfort that lasts for a short time. In some studies, participants take psychological tests; which is a different kind of risk than taking an experimental medication. It is important to speak with the research team to understand the different kinds of risks in a particular study.

All research studies are reviewed for any potential risks and discussed with study volunteers. Possible risks include:

  • Unwanted side effects that affect your health
  • Having to manage complex medication doses
  • The treatment may not make you or other participants better
  • You may be randomly assigned to receive a standard treatment or a placebo - which is an inactive pill.
  • A large time commitment, including visits to the study site, additional blood tests, and hospital stays.

Benefits to participating in a study include:

  • Treatment with experimental or study medications that may not be available anywhere else
  • Care from a research team that includes doctors and other health care professionals who are familiar with the most advanced treatments available.
  • The opportunity to learn more about an illness and how to manage it.
  • The satisfaction of helping others by contributing to medical knowledge or helping to identify possible new treatments.

Thank you for your interest in learning more about clinical research!