If you or a loved one is thinking about enrolling in a clinical trial, you may be wondering, “What happens after my clinical trial?”
The end of the clinical trial does not mark the end of all communication between you and the research team. Once treatment is completed and the study is closed, participants should feel free to ask the trial staff what treatment they were getting. The study staff shares this information as soon as it is available, and they are allowed to do so. They will also share the clinical trial results when they become available.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE CLINICAL TRIAL IS OVER?
Once the clinical trial is over, or if your trial is stopped early for any reason, the research team will notify you immediately and advise you on the next steps. The trial doctors are still committed to providing you with ongoing care: with your consent, they will consult with your usual healthcare provider(s), fully inform them as to your health status, and transition you back into their care. In addition, all clinical trial confidentiality will be upheld.
If a clinical trial ends, the research team will make themselves available to discuss results with you. You should also communicate the study findings to your primary physician to see if there are other trials for which you may qualify.
HOW ARE RESULTS FROM A CLINICAL TRIAL MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC?
Results from clinical trials are often published in peer-reviewed scientific or medical journals. This means that before trial results are approved for publication, the findings are evaluated and supported by peers, who are researchers and experts in the same field as the trial researchers. Peer review ensures that the analysis and conclusions of the trial are sound. If the results are significant, they may also be discussed at scientific meetings before they are published.
The published research paper is directed at fellow researchers to inform the design of future studies for a particular disease state or condition. Many of these papers are what is called “open access,” as they are openly accessible and free to the public to read and download. You can search for results from your clinical trial and the results of other clinical trials for a particular disease, indication or marker on PubMed Central® (PMC), a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature housed in the United States National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM). You can also easily access information about publicly or privately funded clinical studies on ClinicalTrials.gov. The information on this site is provided and updated by the sponsor or principal investigator of the clinical trial.
You can ask the research team if your trial’s results have been or will be published. Coming in 2019, AbbVie will be making an archive of study results summaries available online.
Read more about clinical trial participant's rights and ethics.