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

Anyone considering participating in a trial should consider the risks, and potential problems and benefits.


  • There is no guarantee of personal benefit from the trial.
  • There may be negative side effects or adverse reactions to medications or treatments that may make your health worse.
  • The treatment may not work well for you.

Potential problems

  • You may not be able to take part in other trials.
  • You may not know who is receiving the drug under study versus a placebo.
  • You may have to make some lifestyle changes, such as not eating certain foods or avoiding some types of daily activities.
  • You may have to stop taking other medications that are working well.

Potential benefits

  • You are taking an active role in your own health care.
  • You might be gaining access to treatments under study that are not available to the general public.
  • Your participation may help in the development of new treatments and help others in the future.
  • You may receive regular health monitoring that is part of the trial.

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