Clinical Trial Participation
From The MS Information Sourcebook, produced by the National MS Society.
Many people with MS want to participate in clinical trials for new or experimental forms of therapy. Clinical trials are studies to see if a promising new drug or other medical therapy is actually safe and effective. The studies must be carefully controlled to make sure that the results are valid and not due to factors other then the drug or therapy being tested. This means that clinical trials must have strict criteria for participation. Not everyone who wants to participate in a particular study may be eligible to do so.
Most well controlled clinical trials involve two groups: one group receives the experimental treatment and the other group receives either a placebo (inactive substance) or a previously-approved treatment. Patients in these types of studies should realize that there is a 50/50 chance that they will not receive the treatment under study. Other trial designs involve a "crossover" of treatment, generally meaning that the type of treatment given to each group is switched during the course of the trial. In these types of trials, all groups eventually receive the active treatment under study. The actual design and circumstances of the trial are explained by the investigators before you are asked to give your consent to participate.
General Eligibility Guidelines
Find Out About Potential Risks and Benefits
Before participating in a clinical trial, patients must complete an informed consent process that includes reviewing the study and signing the consent form indicating that they know and understand the purpose of the trial, how it will be conducted, as well as possible risks associated with the trial. Patients are also free to leave a clinical trial at any time, for any reason.
Finding Clinical Trials Recruiting Patients
Kalb R. (ed.) Multiple Sclerosis: The Questions You Have; The Answers You Need (3rd ed.). New York: Demos Medical Publishing, 2004.
Last updated April 2006