Applying to Take Part in a Clinical Trial
Your eligibility to take part in a clinical trial depends on the guidelines spelled out in its protocol. Different studies have different criteria for selecting eligible participants or subjects. In clinical trials involving schizophrenia, trial protocols will specify the age range, previous medical history, previous treatment history, and current health of a prospective participant. The rules for allowing particular people to participate in a given trial are written to allow investigators to answer specific questions in a scientifically valid manner.
What to Consider
Before you call a hospital or research facility to ask about a specific clinical study, talk to your doctor, other advisers, and other family members if they also act as caregivers. Learn all you need to feel comfortable about joining a study. Consider interviewing a clinical study staff member. Jot down your concerns and questions. The U.S. National Institutes of Health offers some useful questions to get you started:
What is the purpose of the study? Who will participate?
Why do researchers believe the experimental treatment being tested may be effective?
Has it been tested before?
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 experimental 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 experimental treatment is working?
Will results of the trials be provided to me?
Who will be in charge of my care?
Sources: the National Institutes of Health and ClinicalTrial.gov
When you go to ask your questions, it helps if a friend or relative comes along to hear the answers and offer support to you. You can also ask to record the conversation so you can replay it for yourself later.