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Study Volunteer FAQ

Find more information about what to expect when participating in an early phase study.

What to Expect FAQ

How long do studies last?

It varies. Some studies involve only a weekend or two in a clinical research unit, while other studies require longer confinement periods of up to several weeks. Post-study follow-up visits called outpatient visits for blood samples are sometimes necessary.

What are the risks?

We refer each study protocol to an Institutional Review Board (IRB) composed of members of the public, including medical professionals, who are independent of the clinic and PPD. The IRB evaluates each study protocol to determine if it complies with international regulatory guidelines to ensure volunteer safety and well-being.

The IRB is there to protect your rights, safety and well-being. The board reviews and approves all aspects of each study, including the type and dose of medicine that will be given to you, all of the measurements that will be conducted throughout the study and the payment you will receive.

The doses of medicine that volunteers are given are very carefully controlled. Sometimes there may be side effects. All known side effects will be explained to you before you decide whether or not to take part in the study for which you qualify. These side effects are generally mild and could possibly include headaches and sickness. For your own safety, it is essential that you always tell us about all prescription and nonprescription medicines and dietary supplements that you are taking.

Are there any rules when I am at the clinic?

Yes, we provide you a list of house rules for the safety and comfort of all volunteers. These include rules on smoking, alcohol and caffeine use, as well as behavior. In addition, there may be rules that relate to a specific study. For example, you may be required to eat all the food provided or to refrain from physical exercise.

What do I need to bring with me when I am in a study?

You need to bring all toiletries and personal items for the duration of your stay. Do not bring in any food, drink or cigarettes if it is a non-smoking study.

Are volunteers allowed to bring cell phones with them when they are participating in a study?

Cell phones are allowed, however if the phone has a camera, it must either be removed or covered with tamper-proof tape provided by PPD. No cameras of any type are allowed in the clinic. Cell phones must be turned off during study procedures.

Is there a medically qualified person in case of an emergency?

Yes. The health and well-being of every volunteer are our priority. Qualified medical staff are always available and a doctor is on call at all times.

Study Process FAQ

Do I have to be ill or in pain to test the medicines?

No, in the Austin clinical research unit, we are not testing to see if the medicine works or not. These studies are to find out how the medicine acts in the bodies of healthy volunteers: how the compound is absorbed, distributed, metabolized and excreted. The Las Vegas clinical research unit will conduct trials requiring healthy volunteers and trials that require patient volunteers. Call 877-773-3707 to speak with a research professional to see if you may qualify.

Do I have to have a test for HIV?

An HIV test is required for some studies. You will be informed in the screening process as to whether or not you will need to be tested for HIV.

What happens if I don't want to continue at any point during the study?

Clinical trial participants are willing volunteers. Even though patients may be asked by the staff to take part in a clinical trial, it is up to the patient to make the final decision, or to withdraw from the trial if they want to with guidance from the medical director.

What happens if you find something wrong with me at the screening visit?

At the screening visit, we may do tests that are not normally conducted in a routine medical checkup. For example, tests may include a heart trace (electrocardiogram) or blood tests which measure the health of your liver. If we suspect something is not quite right, we will do a repeat test to check the results. If we do detect a potential health concern, you will be referred back to your primary care doctor with a copy of your lab results by our staff.

General FAQ

Can I do more than one study?

Yes, many of our healthy volunteers qualify for different studies and work with us a number of times. However, you cannot participate in more than one study at a time, and there is a minimum waiting period between studies. This waiting period is known as the “wash-out” period and can be several months, depending on the medicine that was tested. Also, if you are a blood donor, you will need to meet a minimum “wash-out” for blood donation, which will vary from study to study.

Where is the clinic located?

The Austin clinic is located at 7551 Metro Center Drive, Suite 200, Austin, Texas 78744.
Directions (via Google Maps)

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