Most clinical trials run as planned from beginning to end. But sometimes trials are stopped early. For example, the Institutional Review Board and Data and Safety Monitoring Board may stop a trial if participants are experiencing unexpected and severe side effects or if there is clear evidence that the harms are outweighing the benefits.
In some cases, a trial might be stopped because:
- It is going very well. If there is clear evidence early on that a new treatment or intervention is effective, then the trial may be halted so that the new treatment can be made widely available as soon as possible.
- Enough patients cannot be recruited.
- The results of other trials have published that answer the research question or make it irrelevant.
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