Are there any costs?
In Canada, provincial health insurance and the treatment manufacturer usually cover the cost of treatments and lab tests. However, you may have other expenses, such as loss of wages, time off work, transportation costs, and childcare. If you need help with childcare or transportation costs, talk to the trial staff. In some cases, funds are available to assist you. Trial organizers can explain what can be reimbursed, how, and when.
In 2003, the CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network (CTN) formally established funding to cover reasonable costs of this kind, so if you are participating in a trial supported by the CTN, you may be eligible to be reimbursed for travel and childcare expenses.
It is illegal for anyone to sell a drug that has not been approved by the Health Products and Food Branch of Health Canada.
What if I become ill?
If you become sick while in a trial, tell the trial staff immediately. You may be experiencing side effects of an experimental treatment, or have caught an illness that a study treatment could make worse.
Always keep your informed consent form and trial information package. Here you will find a 24-hour toll-free number to call for advice if you have problems with the study treatment. Because the treatment being tested is experimental, doctors in emergency rooms may not be able to help participants who become ill. However, if you are very ill, go to the emergency department of a hospital and take your informed consent form with you. This will give the ER doctors more information about the treatment you are taking and help them contact your trial doctor.
Can I take other drugs?
While in the trial, you will likely not be permitted to take certain medications, particularly if the trial treatment interferes with other drugs. The trial treatment might also cause a reaction that another drug could make worse.
To protect yourself, keep a list of all the medications you take, including over-the-counter drugs like cold tablets or cough syrup, and complementary therapies, such as herbal and vitamin supplements. You can never be too careful. You should also be aware that the potential for interactions with street drugs (for example, heroin, cocaine and ecstasy) is unknown for most experimental HIV drugs.