Once more, dear friends, I’m putting my body to good use—a drugs trial where I hope my small part contributes to better outcomes for other people with diabetes.
Last year, when I received one of my six-monthly invites to the retinal screening clinic, an invite popped out of the envelope. Did I wish to take part in a trial for a drug aimed at preventing the progression of diabetic retinopathy? Not ‘alf. I’m keen to hang onto my eyesight for the rest of my life, especially as I’m a voracious reader.
I do have diabetic retinopathy. The changes to my eyes happened years ago, I’m screened regularly and while the letters that follow my appointments tell me there is more evidence of minor changes so far I’ve not needed treatment. And long may that happy state continue.
The drug I’ve been taking is a fenofibrate. I say that as if I have any idea of what that means. I don’t, apart from it belonging to the fibrate class of medications and it also has cholesterol reducing properties. I’ve now taken it for seven weeks.
If you are not familiar with drugs trial protocol, if a person is judged suitable for a trial after tests, they take the drug for a run-in period. Further tests are done—blood pressure, height, weight and bloods—and then you are put in one of two groups. One takes the real drug, the other takes a placebo and that’s you for two years.
I’ve done the run-in and now I’m about to do the two years around with the other thousand or so people who have been recruited to take part. Exciting to think our participation might shape treatments for years to come, and here’s hoping the drug proves effective not just for me but for anyone else at risk of losing their eyesight.