When participating in a research study, it is possible participants will be assigned a placebo drug rather than the active drug being tested.
A placebo is an inactive or “dummy” pill randomly assigned to some of the volunteers to compare the results of the drug under study. The physician, research coordinator and volunteer do not know who is receiving the placebo. In some studies all subjects receive the active drug, but different drugs or different dosages. The chances of receiving a placebo or various drug treatments are disclosed to participants in the consent form.
If there are medical problems during the study, investigators may call the director of the study to find out if the participant is taking an active drug or placebo tablet.