Deciding to participate in a research study is a difficult personal debate. You’ve probably heard about a new study inviting Fibromyalgia sufferers to participate in a potentially life-changing treatment, but you haven’t heard how you can become involved. Here are a few things to consider before you do:
- Learn about the study
It’s imperative that you have as much information about the study itself, and how you can join it. Go to www.clinicaltrials.com and get some basic details about a research project. You can learn, for example, if the researchers are currently recruiting participants, who might be eligible, the phase of the trial, and other details. In some cases the site will include plenty of medical terminology and requesting certain scores or diagnostic criteria (in the eligibility section), and because of that, the next step should be a trip to see your doctor.
- Talk to your family doctor
Bring all the information you’ve gathered about the clinical study, and ask your doctor whether or not you should participate. Does they think it would be helpful for your condition; do you meet the eligibility requirements? The doctor may explain the entire process. You can also review the location of the study, and how the insurance would or the research team could caver costs such as travelling, childcare and other expenses.
- Talk to your family and friends
Talk to family and friends before deciding to join a study. They can provide feedback and help you to come up with new ideas, and help you reach a decision.
- Be honest with yourself
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia can be unpredictable, so plan for the worst-case scenario: pain and lack of sleep may keep you at home for a number of days. Some people have found it difficult to participate in a study if it is conducted over a lengthy period of time, or if it requires numerous visits to the research center for follow ups, blood tests and other investigations. In some cases the researchers will ask the subjects to make regular phone calls to the trial nurse to provide details about the symptoms. Research studies are sometimes delayed, sometimes cancelled or stopped before the completion since the results are not as expected, or there are too many reported adverse reactions to continue. You may be disappointed with your experience. Some studies may be completed, but the researchers may not allow you to continue using the drug after the study is done.
If you feel strongly that a new drug can help you, and there are more benefits than risks to participate in the study, and if your doctor is supporting your decision, go ahead and contact the study research staff to start the process.