A clinical trial is a research study on human volunteers to answer specific questions about vaccines, new therapies, or new ways of using known treatments. Clinical trials (also called medical research and research studies) are used to determine if new drugs or treatments are both safe and effective.
Clinical trials that are well-designed and well-executed are the best approach for eligible participants to:
Play an active role in their health care.
Gain access to new research treatments before they are widely available.
Obtain expert medical care at leading health care facilities during the clinical trial.
Help others by contributing to medical research.
There are risks to clinical trials.
There may be unpleasant, serious or even life-threatening side effects to experimental treatment.
The experimental treatment may not be effective for the participant.
The protocol (research procedures) may require more time and attention than would a non-protocol treatment, including trips to the study site, more treatments, hospital stays or complex dosage requirements.