In August 2016, I entered a clinical study. I wanted to participate in the possible development of new drugs for cancer.
In this case, the docs wanted to use three drugs to see if they together would be more effective than any of them alone. I took two of the drugs by pill with a “run-up” period that gradually increased the dose. The third drug was administered by infusion.
The medical tests were intense. Every week, I had blood tests. I regularly had EKG and CT scans. They even threw in a PET scan for good measure. The docs also took biopsies, which required sedation, and a detailed ophthalmology exam.
I did well for a while but then developed problems with liver levels. The docs stopped one drug and reduced the other. Ultimately they had to stop treatment altogether because the drugs also lowered my sodium levels and landed me in the hospital for two days.
The sodium returned to normal after restricting my water intake. The liver problem was tougher and required prednisone. The steroid accelerated cataract development and resulted in two cataract surgeries after a year.
Clinical trials are necessary in the development of new drugs, including the immunology drug I take now. I’m grateful for patients who participated in that study and hope my statistics will help the next generation.