Will I have to stop taking my current medication? What are the risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial?


You will usually be invited to take part in a clinical trial because you are a patient who needs treatment. You will then have a choice between joining a trial or carrying on with the treatment you would have been given anyway. This is not an easy decision. You will have to weigh up all the pros and cons of either option. It is important to consider what's most important to you and which option is most likely to give you the most benefits. There are clearly many things to think about before taking part in a clinical trial. Some of the benefits and risks of taking part are listed below. Possible benefits of taking part in a clinical trial

  • You may receive a new treatment before it is widely available
  • You may help to produce information of use to yourself and others with the same health problem
  • You can play a more active role in your own healthcare
  • Your treatment and progress may be monitored more closely

Possible risks of taking part in a clinical trial

  • You may experience unexpected side-effects
  • You may have to visit the clinic or hospital more often because you are being monitored more closely
  • You may have to undergo more tests (for example blood tests) then you would usually have in routine care
  • You may be given a new treatment that is less effective than the standard treatment. Or you may be given the standard treatment when the new treatment proves to be more effective.
  • You may find the new treatment works well for some other people, but not for youYou may not have access to the new treatment at the end of the trial, even if proves to be the bestone.