Getting into a study is usually the hardest part about doing a study.  Below are some tips and advice that can help improve your chances.  Of course, using this information will not guarantee that you will get into a study nor is it for beating the rules of a clinic.  In fact, most of this is just simple things you can do you live a more healthier lifestyle.


Stop drinking alcohol 72 hours before your screening and before your check in.  You may be able to get away with drinking 24 hours before but is a night of drinking worth 3 grand?  Don’t risk it!

If you routinely work out, your creatine (CK) levels are going to be higher than acceptable at most clinics.  Also, if you exercise heavily 72 hours before a blood screening, you will probably test high on creatine.  If you plan on doing studies regularly, you will need to seriously consider shortening or stopping your work out regiment all together.  Also, if you consume products high in protein, your results can be off.

If you smoke and the clinic will be screening for cotinine, you will be caught!  It takes a minimum of 7 days to clear out once you stop smoking but can take longer. 

Become aware of when clinics post their new studies.  Some have certain days and times while other post them as they approve them.  While most clinic recruiting lines are open during the week, some have weekend hours.  Monday mornings are usually heavy volume times. 

When setting up your appointment to screen, take the earliest time and day available.  Being one of the first to screen doesn’t always help improve your chances, but you should have a yes or no answer quicker.  Many clinics operate on a first qualified, first served basis.

Get into the habit of drinking water!  Water is your best friend while doing studies.  But beware that water can also be your enemy.  8 Cups of water, or two liters, is the recommended daily intake.  Spread your intake throughout the day.  The night before a screening, you will most likely fast.  You will be allowed to drink water.  About a half hour before your screening starts, stop drinking water!  Water can adversely affect your temperature and blood work.  Always come prepared to give a urine analysis, but don’t drink anything a half hour before the screening or during. 

Do you first void of the day before you arrive at your screening but make sure you drink just enough water so that you can go again when you are at the screening without needing to drink more water. 

If you are at screening and need to pee really bad, pee until the pressure is relieved then stop and hold it.  Your bladder will equalize in a few moments and you won’t have to pee as bad but you’ll still have some left when it’s time to go.

If your blood pressure is usually at the upper threshold, a daily intake of garlic can help lower your blood pressure.  However, this does not work for everyone. 

Additionally, to help get accurate readings, you should: 

  Keep feet flat on the floor.  Don’t kick your feet, cross legs, swing or doing anything else with your feet.

  Wear loose fitting clothes.  Tight fitting clothes restrict blood circulation and can elevate BP. 

  You should sit as still as possible.  Do not talk. 

  Don’t look at the machine or at the clock.  Close your eyes if you have to.  If your not expecting the machine to go off, you won’t tense up. 

  Rest your BP arm on your thigh.  Every part of your body should be relaxed. 

Make sure that when you read the informed consent form, you memorize the key information like the name of the drug, side-effects and what the drug is being developed for.  Doctors like to quiz you to make sure that you fully understand what you are getting yourself into. 

Show up to your screenings or appointments early!  Traffic is not an excuse.  It is advised that you show up at least a half hour early.  In the event that you are not going to be able to make it to your appointment, call the clinic!  No call, no shows will count against you at the clinic!  Most clinics have a 3 strikes and your banned policy.  Some are even more strict. 

While doing your ECG, do not hold your breath.  Just breath normally. 

If you don’t make it into the study, find out why!  If it is a health issue, for your own sake, go see a doctor.  If you did not make it in simply because too many people were qualified, then don’t feel bad.  At least you know that you are healthy.  Try screening for another study.

During your Study:

Water!  Drink lots of water!  You should drink your normal intake of 2 liters on non-procedure days.  On days where you will give lots of blood, like 12 or more draws, then you should drink an extra liter. 

Make friends with people in your studies and other studies.  Knowledge is power!  Many people doing studies do multiple studies a year and can tell you about studies in other places.  Of course, don’t take everything you hear for fact.  Always get phone numbers or websites if possible.  Lots of rumors float around clinics about studies paying ungodly sums of money for ridiculous treatments. 

Be early to all of your procedures.  If you are late to your dosing, the staff will not be happy, as they will have to make adjustments to your schedule for the entire day.  Also, you will get fined! 

Eat all of your food.  Cause you ain’t getting anything else!  Clinics serve a strict diet and many times, you will not get a normal diet.  Some studies may delete a meal!

After your Study:

Water!  Drink lots of water!  You need to replace all the blood you gave.  For about three days after you get out, drink about three liters a day, then return to the normal 2 liters. 

Be aware of your washout dates.  All clinics have at least a 30 day washout period when you cannot do another study.  This is not to be mean to you but for your safety.  While you may not participate in another study during this time, you may screen for another study just as long as the start date is at least 30 days past your last dosing unless otherwise specified by the clinic.  Also, cranberry juice will help clean your system out. 

Miscellaneous Tips:

Sticky ECG Tabs:  How to get the goo off!

If you’ve ever done an ECG intensive study with the sticky ECG tabs, then you know that they leave a gooey mess on your body.  The easiest and cleanest way to get that goo off is to use a discarded tab (preferably one of yours) and pat it on the gooey area.  The goo will stick to the tab and after several pats, the goo one your skin will be gone without washing or alcohol pads!