14 Frequently Asked Questions about Clinical Trials

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10. Do participants still get treatment after the trial ends?

After the trial ends, treatment may end or participants may be offered continued treatment. This is frequently referred to as an “open label extension.” Participants who received placebo are sometimes able to get the  trial treatment at the end of the study. It is important to speak with the individuals conducting the trial to see if the option exists for you to continue the treatment once the trial ends.

11. Can someone get a medication that has not gone through a clinical trial?

All medications must go through clinical trials to be used by patients. It is possible for physicians and other prescribing healthcare providers to prescribe a medication that has gone through clinical trials for a different use. This is called “off-label use.” It means that the treatment went through a clinical trial but usually for a similar condition. Using a medication off-label is based on the clinical judgement of the person prescribing the medication.

12. If a drug works, why can’t we just start giving it to people right away?

It is important to make sure a drug is more effective than existing treatments, that it actually works in the disease, and that it is safe. Decisions to give drugs or other medical treatments must come from scientific data, not just the opinion of a healthcare provider, patient, or another individual. Clinical trials help to assure that all steps are followed before a medication is approved as safe and effective.
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