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You may have questions about what it’s like being a clinical volunteer. Take a look at some of the most common questions people have before enrolling, and see if participating in a clinical trial is something you’d like to do.

About clinical trials

What is a clinical trial?

Clinical trials are scientific studies where researchers investigate a drug’s or device’s impact on a disease or a person’s overall health. Clinical trials are governed by a number of rules and guidelines, which help to ensure the rights, safety, and well-being of trial participants. Clinical trials are an irreplaceable step in the process to develop new medicines and devices. Learn more about clinical trials.

How safe are clinical trials?

Your well-being and safety rate above anything else while taking part in a Novo Nordisk trial. Clinical trials are strictly regulated by numerous requirements and legislations in order to ensure your rights, safety, and confidentiality.

Clinical trials sponsored by Novo Nordisk will always be conducted according to all applicable laws and guidelines and only take place after approval is granted by the national regulatory authorities and research ethics committees.

Clinical trials will only be conducted if:

• They can be scientifically and medically justified

• Potential benefits outweigh potential risks for the trial participant

During a trial, all adverse events, or side effects, are closely monitored and action is taken when necessary. Novo Nordisk also creates safety committees for all clinical research activities, which immediately take action on any safety aspect of research, if needed.

Clinical trials sponsored by Novo Nordisk will always be conducted according to the Declaration of Helsinki, an international agreement for ethical standards for medical research.

More specific information can be found in the agreement to take part. 

What are the possible benefits of participating?

There are several benefits to taking part in clinical trials. You may:

• Get valuable information about managing your disease

• Get access to new investigational treatments not yet on the market

• Get close medical monitoring during your participation

•  Get expert medical care at leading health care facilities in relation to your participation

• Help others by contributing to medical research

Why should I participate?

There are many different reasons to volunteer for a clinical trial. Some people want to receive the latest investigational treatments, while others find satisfaction in knowing that they’re contributing to medical advancements. Volunteering is a personal decision, but you may find it valuable to see why others decided to participate. To hear stories from past volunteers, visit our participant experience page.

Can I receive compensation for participating in a trial?

Dependent on local regulations, participants of Novo Nordisk clinical trials may be reimbursed for reasonable travelling expenses and loss of income.

How many people participate in Novo Nordisk clinical trials each year?

More than 25,000 people participate in a Novo Nordisk clinical trial each year. These trials are conducted at more than 5,000 trial sites, in 50 countries around the world. Novo Nordisk will usually have more than 100 active clinical trials at any given time. 

Is my personal information safe?

Yes. Protecting your privacy is very important. Novo Nordisk will always protect the use of personal data with the appropriate security measures and in compliance with all applicable privacy legislation. More specific information can also be found in the trials agreement to take part. 

What is involved in participating?

While more specific information can be found in the trial specific agreement to take part, involvement in a study will normally include:

  • Taking the study medicine as prescribed by your study doctor
  • Attending regular doctor visits for study-related health checks (known as study visits)
  • Consistent contact with the study nurse or doctor throughout the study (by phone or in person)
  • Keeping record of any changes to your medication and well-being in your study diary between study visits



Getting started

Who can participate?

In order to participate, you will go through a screening process where the doctor will determine if you are eligible. The investigator of the trial, or lead doctor/scientist, ensures that people who want to volunteer are able to participate based on the detailed information in the clinical trial plan, also known as the protocol. They will review the volunteer’s full medical history, perform a detailed medical examination, obtain a signed agreement to take part form, and more.

Do I need a doctor to refer me to a clinical trial?

You can enrol in any clinical trial at any time without a referral from your doctor.

How much will I know about the trial I am participating in?

You will always be given verbal and written information about the trial you’re participating in before you decide to take part. The trial doctor works with you to make sure you understand the details of the trial. This process is known as agreement to take part.

Please note that you cannot participate in a trial until you sign an agreement to take part form, which is a document stating that you understand all aspects of the trial and freely volunteer to take part.



During a trial

How long will my trial last?

The length of trials vary from weeks to years, and each trial is different. As a part of the agreement to take part process, you will be informed upfront how long a specific trial is scheduled to last.

Am I able to drop out of a trial at any time?

Yes. You may drop out of a trial at any time, for any reason.

Will there be side effects?

Just like with any medication, there are sometimes side effects. Throughout the trial, doctors and nurses will closely monitor your health, and will make adjustments if needed.

Is there a chance I’ll be getting a placebo?

Some trials may include a placebo. The placebo will look like the medicine being tested, but does not have any active ingredients. Though you may receive a placebo, keep in mind that placebos are a really important part of the clinical trials process, and are necessary to test the psychological benefits of a treatment.

Can I see my primary doctor during trials?

Yes. You are welcome to see your primary doctor at any time during your trial.

Why is it important for me to attend every visit?

It is important that you commit to participating in the full study and attend your regular visits from start to finish so that the research team can follow your progress. Attending every visit helps the team better understand the study results, and you may also benefit from the clinic visits.

Even if you or your study doctor makes the decision for you to stop taking the study medicine ahead of schedule, it is still important to attend all visits until the end of the study.



After a trial

How can I see the results of my clinical trial?

Novo Nordisk is committed to publishing trial results and providing all volunteers with access.

Will care be offered after I have participated in a trial?

At the final visit your study team will discuess the choices for your future medical care with you. After the end of the study, Novo Nordisk will not give any free medicines or extra care.


This site contains information about clinical trials sponsored by Novo Nordisk. It is not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional and should not be construed as providing advice or making a recommendation. The information on this site should not be relied on as the basis for any decision or action. Only a physician can determine whether a specific product is correct for a particular patient. If you have questions regarding any information contained on this site you should consult a physician.

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Tel: (011) 202 0500 Fax: (011) 807 7989. www.novonordisk.comCOMPONENT-046455 March 2024