Can I change my mind?
The short answer is Yes. While researchers will hope that you stay committed to the trial so that there is enough data to make a conclusion, you are free to withdraw at any time without consequence to your future relationship with the trial team, your doctor, or your future medical care.
Being fully informed before you consent is important so that there is less chance you will change you mind later. Dropouts are a problem for clinical trials, especially if so many people drop out that the trial can no longer answer the question it set out to do. Having said that, sometimes you don’t know what is around the corner and unforseen things can happen. So withdrawing is always an option.
What happens if I want to withdraw?
If you do think you want to withdraw, don’t just disappear on the trial team. Tell them and find out what you need to do to be safe withdrawing. Sometimes you will need to taper off a new medicine, rather than go cold turkey, so discussing it with the trial team will keep you safe. The trial team may also be able to reassure you about any concerns you may have, so dropping out might not be necessary.
If you do withdraw, the trial team will likely want to do any final safety procedures that may be necessary and ask you about why your withdrawing. These reasons are usually collated in the study report for transparency purposes, and can be especially important to understand and reflect on if the trial does not meet its objectives.
At the end of the day, it is your decision whether or not to remain in a trial.