UK Community Advisory Board (UK-CAB)

Thinking it Over: Is a Clinical Trial Right for Me?

From NIH: AIDS clinical trials: Talking it Over


Questions to ask the doctor

Facts about the Study

  • What is the purpose of the study?
  • Who is running the study?
  • Who is paying for the study?
  • Who reviews the results?
  • What treatment(s) may I receive
  • Does the study use a placebo?
  • Why do doctors believe that this treatment may work?
  • How will the study keep my name and records private?

Risks and benefits

  • Does the treatment have any known side effects?
  • Are there any other risks?
  • How may I be helped by the new treatment?
  • What other options for treatment do I have?
  • How do the pros and cons of my other options compare with those of the study?

What the treatment will involve

  • How long does the trial last?
  • How often do I need to come to the clinic?
  • How many times a day do I need to take a drug?
  • What other things do I need to do?
  • How is the drug given – as a pill, in a shot, or in another way?
  • What tests do I need to take?
  • Am I able to see all my test results?
  • Who treats me in the study?
  • Does a social worker (or other trained staff) provide support and help me deal with problems?
  • Do I see the same doctor or nurse each time?
  • Can I keep seeing my private doctor, if I have one?
  • Where will I be treated after the study?
  • If I take a drug that helps me, can I keep taking it after the study is over?


  • What costs are covered by the trial?
  • What other costs can I expect?
  • Does insurance usually cover the costs that a study does not pick up?
  • What other help with costs is available?

Questions to ask Yourself

  • Is helping to find better treatments for HIV important to me?
  • Can I accept the changes a trial may make in my daily life?
  • Am I committed enough to
    • Take the drug as often as I should?
    • Go to the clinic as needed?
    • Stick with the trial as long as it lasts?
  • Am I willing to follow all of a trial’s policies?
  • Are the pros of taking part greater than the cons?
  • Do I have the support of my friends and family?

From NIH: AIDS clinical trials: Talking it Over. August 1989, Publication 89-3025