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Participating in a medical research study?

by tom44 on June 5, 2013

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Question by Have a GREAT day!: Participating in a medical research study?
Has anyone ever had any success? Ive been curious about it lately, but I dont want to fall for a scam or anything. How can I look for legit medical studies (preferably compensated) online? Thanks in advance!

Best answer:

Answer by kridgeway3
It sounds like you are considering this to earn money. Both my husband and i have successfully participated in clinical research trials, and i interviewed for a job at a pharmaceutical (medicine) research trial company. We did the participation while he was in grad school in Chapel Hill, NC. They paid to draw our blood and test it, and to draw other types of specimens. It helped us poor grad students to survive on our limited budget! 🙂 The pay might not be spectacular, and it takes time — but sometimes, every little bit of extra money helps!

When you participate in a trial for a medicine, you will not know whether or not you are getting the “real” medicine or the placebo one. Initially, you’ll fill out a good bit of paperwork to help them determine whether or not you are a suitable subject for the particular trial. Please be TOTALLY honest in answering the questions, as it will affect all the results if you are inaccurate.

After you are pre-approved, often there is some sort of physical exam: at least blood pressure and pulse; sometimes they do a whole physical including blood work (using a tiny needle to draw some blood from your vein into tubes for testing), or a urine test, and or even an EKG (electric readout on the heart) to determine if you are well enough to participate. This is a great way to get a free physical — they will typically give you all the printouts of the results!

Then, often you will answer more questions and have a personal interview with a nurse. The first visit or two MIGHT take up to 3-4 hrs., or it might be shorter. They should tell you how long the first visit probably will take when you phone to make the appointment, so that you can plan your time. Usually, the later visits tend to be shorter. Feel free to ask any questions you have!

If you pass all the preliminary testing, If it’s a medicine trial, they will issue the medicine and tell you how to take it. It might be another type of trial, like exercising, or inhaling chemical substances, or something else. They will tell you all the potential side effects and give you a 24 hr. phone number to call if you have any questions or problems. This is called “informed consent.”

You will return to the office or lab at stated intervals for as long as the trial is going on: sometimes for as short as a month or two, sometimes for up to years. They will make this all clear to you before you sign up. You can withdraw from the trial at any time, with no obligation.

Often, they will continue to do blood tests at intervals over the trial period. This helps them check on whether or not the medicine (or whatever) is affecting you in a bad or good way. An example might be, is the new cholesterol medicine actually helping to make your cholesterol level go lower? Is it having a bad effect on another blood test? They want to know if the medicine (or exercise, or whatever) is EFFECTIVE and SAFE.

As for finding legit studies, most often you will find them in big cities, such as Chicago, DC, New York, etc. — often at universities that have a medical school or at the very least a chemistry or biology department. Sometimes, these are advertised in the newspaper — i often read about them in the ads while i lived in DC. Many times, pharmaceutical companies will advertise for participants, too. The big names in pharmaceuticals are Lilly, Merck, Johnson & Johnson… Another option is teaching hospitals — they often have a research dept.

Altho this site is from the UK (Britain), it has some helpful comments about participating in trials:

And this site is a blog about the warnings you should understand before you participate:

On google, i put in: “taking part in legitimate clinical medical trials” (without the quote marks) and there are a number of commercial links on the right. These seemed helpful: (i myself have NO association of ANY sort with these companies.)

i hope this helps!

kathy, MSN, RN

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