What to Expect When you Join a Clinical Trial

After you’ve expressed interest in a clinical trial by contacting the trial team or filling out a pre-screener online, what comes next?
Exact experiences vary, but your trial experience will most likely follow these steps: 
clinical trial

Phone screening: 

After you’ve found a clinical trial you’re interested in and reached out to the trial team, or completed a pre-screener online, the trial team will give you a call to ask you a few more questions and learn more about you. If they find that you may be a good fit for the trial, you’ll be invited for an in-person screening at the study site. 

In-person screening:

At the in-person screening, doctors associated with the trial will ask you more questions, and you may be given a physical. You may also be asked to complete additional medical tests to ensure that the study is right for you. If the trial requires multiple tests, you may be asked to come in for a second visit. If the study team determines that you’re qualified for the trial, you’ll be invited to join. 

Informed consent: 

Next, the trial team will answer all of your questions and go over the details of the trial. Be sure to ask any questions you’d like such as how long the trial will last, what you can expect from each study visit, and whether you will be reimbursed for your expenses or receive additional compensation. Next, you’ll be asked to sign an informed consent form to officially join the trial. 

clinical trial
clinical trial

Study visits: 

The study visits themselves will vary based on the kind of trial it is. Your visits may be similar to regular doctor’s appointments, with additional attention and questions related to the clinical trial. For some trials, site visits are conducted virtually. In those trials, you’ll talk with the study team over a webcam on your computer or a device provided by the trial. 

In between visits: 

Some trials may also ask you to keep a virtual or paper diary during the trial to track your symptoms or answer other questions related to your health, such as your exercise routine. It’s important to record your diary entries as directed by the study team to ensure that the study is collecting accurate data. 

clinical trial
clinical trial

After the trial: 

You may be able to continue taking the study drug after the end of the trial – the study team should let you know before you join, but ask if they don’t mention it. You can also ask before the trial starts how you can see the results of the study after it’s completed. Trial teams publish their results, so you should be able to find the study after it’s complete, even if it’s not directly shared.