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The Interview Before You Agree To Enter A Clinical Trial


Your interview with the research team in charge of the clinical trial provides a great opportunity to learn more about the treatment being studied, the potential benefits and thel risks.  During the interview, you may speak with the trial coordinator, doctor, research scientist, nurse, or other member of the research team. 

Knowing the right questions to ask, and understanding the responses, can help ensure that you choose the trial that may be most beneficial. It is also helpful to have someone with you at the interview to help ask questions and remember answers. If the researchers allow it, record the interview so you can review the discussion in the quiet of your home.

How To Prepare For An Interview About Joining A Clinical Trial

In order to make the most of your interview time with the trial coordinator, consider the following.

Plan the questions that you may wish to ask. You can write down a list of questions or print the suggested questions that you will find at: A List Of Suggested Questions To Take To The Clinical Trial Interview.

Do not go alone. Take a trusted friend or loved one with you to the interview. Two heads can be better than one.

Look for someone who can:

  • Provide emotional support
  • Ask questions that you don't think of or are too embarrassed to ask
  • Help you understand the responses
  • Review what was said with you after the meeting

Take a recorcer - even if you plan to take written notes. (If your mobile phone doesn't record, recorders are not expensive.) A great deal of important information is likely to be exchanged during the interview. Recording will allyou to review the information later in a more relaxed enviornment. A recording also provides an easy way to share information with friends, and family.

At The interview For A Clinical Trial

During the interview process, expect to receive an Informed Consent document as well as an explanation about the trial.

Take as much time as you need to ask questions when discussing the details of the trial. It is the responsibility of the trial coordinator (or whoever is conducting the interview) to provide thorough information, and to address all of your questions and concerns.

 Find out who to call, when and at what number in case you think of additional questions after the interview. Do not hesitate to call the trial coordinator, or schedule another interview.

Be certain that you understand exactly what you are being told during the interview. If you are unsure about a response, repeat back to the trial coordinator what you thought was said. Ask if your understanding is correct. You may also choose to rephrase your question, or ask the coordinator to repeat what was said in a different way. Visuals can also assist with understanding. If necessary, ask the coordinator to provide or draw a diagram.

Ask for a copy of the protocol. The protocol is a document prepared by the sponsor of the trial describing the trial details. It is more detailed than the Informed Consent Form. For instance, the protocol may provide the results of previous animal tests and human trials, as well as the number of people expected to enroll. You may also learn additional information about possible side effects.

Find out if your doctor is one of the principal investigators in the trial. The more closely connected the doctor is to the conduct of the trial, the more information she will have. If you have a bad side effect, it may be recognized sooner than by a person not as closely connected to the conduct of the trial. If your doctor is not a principal investigator, find out who is and how to get hold of that person.

Ask the research team if you can speak with other trial participants. It will give you an opportunity to ask other people about their personal experiences (both good and bad) associated with the trial and treatment. If applicable, you may also want to speak with people who have completed treatment.

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