What questions should I ask my doctor?

Talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you may have before deciding to enroll in a trial. Your doctor can also help you come up with important questions to ask the clinical trial team before you meet with them.


You can use the questions below as a starting point:


The goals of the trial: You'll want to understand why the clinical trial is being conducted and how it might benefit you. 

  • What is the purpose of this clinical trial?
  • Why do the researchers believe this new treatment might be effective?
  • Have there been other trials similar to this one? If so, what were the results?
  • Why is this clinical trial a good fit for me?

The clinical trial protocol: Each trial is conducted according to a comprehensive plan, or protocol. This protocol describes who can join a trial, the schedule of tests and procedures, medications prescribed, follow-up care, and the length of the study.

  • How long will the trial take?
  • How long will my part in the trial take? 
  • What phase is this clinical trial, and what does that mean?
  • How many patients are needed for the trial?
  • Who will be in charge of my care during the trial?
  • What will I have to do if I join?
  • How often will I have to visit the hospital or clinic?
  • Will I have to stay in the hospital?
  • What type of long-term follow-up care is part of this trial?

Risks and benefits: You'll want to know how the treatment could affect your health and impact other care you might receive.

  • How could this trial help me if I join?
  • What are the possible risks? Is the treatment likely to cause side effects?
  • How will I know if the treatment is working?
  • Is there a chance I will be assigned to a group that does not get the new treatment? 
  • If I benefit from the treatment, can I continue taking it after the study?
  • Will I be able to take my regular medications while participating?
  • What are my treatment options if I don't join this trial?

Practical concerns: It's a good idea to ask if you will have to travel to participate and how costs related to your care will be handled.

  • Where will the trial take place (sometimes called the "study site")?
  • What financial costs will I be responsible for if I join?
  • Will my health insurance be billed?
  • Will I be reimbursed or paid in any way for my participation?
  • Will I find out about the results of the clinical trial?
  • Will researchers tell me if they learn anything about my health during the trial? 
  • How will my privacy be protected?

For more examples of questions to ask, visit the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and ClinicalTrials.gov.

Will my care be better, the same, or worse if I participate in a clinical trial?
If you decide to participate in a clinical trial, you may receive higher quality medical care and resources...
How will the clinical trial team communicate with me?
This will vary by study, but the study staff will go over this with you at the outset of the study.  It could involve regular visits to the investigational site, telemedicine (telehealth) visits, or other forms of communication via an app or…
Are there disease specific clinical trial resources?
Many patient advocacy groups and medical research institutions provide websites to help patients find clinical trials...