Clinical Trials: Preparation Tips and Questions to Ask

What questions should I ask myself before deciding to participate in a clinical trial?

• Why do I want to participate in the clinical trial?

• What are my goals and expectations if I were to be selected? 

• How could this impact me if I do participate in the trial? How will this impact me if I do not participate?

• Have I weighed the benefits versus the risks?

What questions should I ask my doctor or study coordinator before deciding to participate in a trial? 

About the trial:

• What is being studied?

• Why do researchers believe the intervention being tested might be effective? Why might it not be effective? Has it been tested before?

• What are the possible interventions that I might receive during the trial?

• How will it be determined which interventions I receive (for example, by chance)?

• How will I know which intervention I receive during the trial? Will I know? Will members of the research team know?

• Will I get a placebo?

• Can my doctor or I pick what group I am a part of?

• Will I know which group I am in?

• Are there risks?

• How do the possible risks, side effects and benefits of this trial compare with those of my current treatment?

• What are my options if I am injured during the study?

• Who will oversee my medical care while I am in the trial?

• Will my information be kept confidential?

About my role:

• What will I have to do?

• Will I have to stop taking any of my current medications or supplements to participate in this trial?

• How often will I have to visit the hospital or Care Center?

• What tests and procedures are involved?

• Will hospitalization be required?

• How long will the study last?

• Will I be allowed to participate in another clinical trial if another one comes up during this trial? Do you recommend another clinical trial for me over this one?

• Who will pay for my participation?

• Will I be reimbursed for other expenses?

About the post-trial period:

• What type of long-term follow-up care is part of this trial?

• If I benefit from the intervention, will I be allowed to continue receiving it after thetrial ends?

• Will results of the study be provided to me?

This article was written with contributions from Amy Madsen, marketing communications manager for MDA’s research program, and in consultation with Amy Bartlett, NeuroNEXT clinical research manager at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Department of Neurology


Editor's note: Read Trial Run: Is participating in a clinical trial right for me to learn more about important considerations before choosing to participate in a clinical trial. Visit Types of Clinical Trials. to learn about the different types of trials and what each trial entails.

MDA Resource Center: We’re Here For You

Our trained specialists are here to provide one-on-one support for every part of your journey. Send a message below or call us at 1-833-ASK-MDA1 (1-833-275-6321). If you live outside the U.S., we may be able to connect you to muscular dystrophy groups in your area, but MDA services are only available in the U.S.