More Frequently Asked Questions

Volunteering for a clinical trial is an important decision. Listed below are some questions and answers that may guide you in your decision-making process.

See more frequently asked questions.

Can a participant leave a clinical trial after it has begun?

Yes. You can leave a clinical trial at any time. When withdrawing from the trial, you should inform the research team about your decision for leaving the study. Choosing to withdraw from the trial will not affect your regular treatment.

What is a placebo?

Placebos are harmless, inactive substances made to look like the real medicine used in the clinical trial. Placebos allow the investigators to learn whether the medicine being given works better or no better than ordinary treatment. If a placebo is part of a study, you will be informed in the consent form given to you before you agree to take part in the study.

What are single-blind and double-blind studies?

In single- or double-blind studies, the participants don't know which medicine is being used. Blind studies are designed to prevent anyone from influencing the results. In single-blind studies, only the patient is not told what is being given. In a double-blind study, only the pharmacist knows; the rest of the study team does not know. If medically necessary, however, it is always possible to find out what the patient is taking.

What if I have trouble understanding English?

If English is not your first language, The Reading Hospital has medical interpreters on staff who can help you understand the details of a clinical trial.

What should people consider before participating in a trial?

People should know as much as possible about the clinical trial and feel comfortable asking the study team questions about it. The following questions might be helpful for you to discuss with the study team. Some of the answers to these questions are found in the informed consent document.

  • What is the purpose of the study?
  • Who is going to be in the study?
  • Why do researchers believe the new treatment being tested may be effective? Has it been tested before?
  • What kinds of tests and treatments are involved?
  • How do the possible risks, side effects, and benefits in the study compare with my current treatment?
  • How might this trial affect my daily life?
  • How long will the trial last?
  • Will hospitalization be required?
  • Who will pay for the treatment?
  • Will I be reimbursed for other expenses?
  • What type of long-term follow up care is part of this study?
  • How will I know that the treatment is working?
  • Will results of the trials be provided to me?
  • Who will be in charge of my care?
  • What are my treatment options if I don’t join the trial?