Participating in Clinical Trials

Finding a Clinical Trial

Consult Your Healthcare Provider

Before looking for a clinical trial to join, you need to talk to your health care provider about your health. He or she can discuss with you the possible risks and benefits of being in a trial. If you are a caregiver for someone who can't decide for themselves about a trial, and you don't have a power of attorney, you should also talk to a lawyer.

Remember, clinical trials don't accept everyone. Researchers are looking for specific types of participants to meet the needs of the study, so you may not be eligible. Some trials, however, are looking for older volunteers.

How to Find a Trial

Here are ways to find a clinical trial.

  • Your health care provider may know about trials that you can join.
  • The National Institutes of Health has a Web site called ClinicalTrials.gov that you can search, found at http://clinicaltrials.gov. To find studies for older people, use one or more of these terms in your search: aged, elderly, senior, age > 55, or 65 years and above.
  • Support groups often have lists of trials.
  • Newspapers in large cities often have advertisements for trials at nearby hospitals, clinics or universities.

How to Enroll in a Trial

Here is how you can enroll in a clinical trial.

  • Contact the clinical trial or study coordinator. You can find this information in the trial description. Your health care provider may also want to talk to this person about your health conditions.
  • Set up a screening appointment. During this appointment, researchers will ask you questions and may test you to see if you meet the needs of the study.