Article | November 21, 2023

Understanding Clinical Trial Patient Attrition

Source: Scout
Cancer patient consulting with doctor-GettyImages-1217056000

Various factors, including adverse events, voluntary withdrawal, lack of compliance, and external factors beyond the control of patients or researchers, contribute to patient attrition in clinical trials—the loss of participants throughout the trial period. A substantial 15% to 40% of patients exit clinical trials before completion. Adding to the challenge, the average cost to replace a patient who drops out is approximately $19,5002, in addition to the initial recruitment cost averaging $6,500 per patient.

Patient attrition not only incurs significant costs but also poses a substantial obstacle to the success and validity of a trial. Therefore, it becomes imperative to minimize patient attrition by implementing strategies that enhance patient engagement, address participation barriers, and ensure study visits are as convenient as possible for participants. This article delves into an exploration of patient attrition in clinical trials, examining its underlying causes and the profound impact it can have on the success of medical research.

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