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Clinical trials are designed to make the risks as low as possible and the benefits as great as possible for all the people who take part, whichever treatment they get.
Taking part in a trial means that you may be given a new treatment that works better than the standard treatment. You’ll also be helping doctors find out what treatments may benefit future patients.
When you take part in a trial, you’ll be monitored carefully during and after the study. Your doctors will probably want you to have regular tests, such as blood tests, and you may be asked some extra questions about how you’re feeling.
This careful monitoring means that any changes in your health - whether or not they are related to the treatment you’re having - can be noticed and dealt with as soon as possible.
With any clinical trial there is always a small risk that the treatment could harm you or that you could experience side effects that are unpleasant or unexpected. During the trial, researchers make every effort to minimise these risks.
Taking part in a trial may mean going to your hospital or GP more often than you would normally, so bear this in mind before you agree to take part. Attending the hospital can be tiring and the extra travel may cost a lot of money.
Ask your doctor how many extra visits will be needed and think about how convenient this will be for you. You can also ask if the research trial will pay for your additional travel costs, and how you can claim
Content last reviewed: 1 February 2013
Next planned review: 2015
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