Life on the Feisty Side of Fifty is all about choices. As time becomes more precious, the decisions we make on a daily basis: diet, exercise, social activities, work, etc. hold greater impact on our health. But what if we find ourselves being asked to participate in a clinical trial? Should we agree… should be abstain… should we put off making a decision until we know more?
The NIH website provides helpful information regarding this important decision. Before making the choice for yourself, I suggest you take a look at what they have to say. Here are a few of the points you will want to consider as far as the risks and benefits:
- Your participation may help others get a better treatment for their disease in the future and allow researchers to learn more about how diseases can be prevented, identified, or managed.
- If the treatment being studied is more effective than the standard treatment, you may be among the first to benefit.
- Researchers, doctors, and other health care professionals may check your physical condition frequently, giving you regular, careful medical attention, because they need data to make comparisons in a trial.
- It may be a way to get an experimental treatment for a life threatening illness that is not available to people outside of a clinical trial.
- You may experience unpleasant, serious, or even life-threatening side effects.
- You may not get the experimental treatment, but a standard treatment or a placebo instead.
- The experimental may not work or it may not be better or even as good as the standard treatment for your condition.
- You may be required to make more visits to the doctor than if you were receiving standard treatment. You may have extra expenses related to these extra visits, such as travel and childcare costs.
- You may need extra tests. Some of the tests could be uncomfortable or time consuming.
It goes without saying that such an important decision should be discussed with your family members and health care professionals. Nevertheless, the NIH is a good place to start… but, most of all, remember that the choice is yours.