I just accepted an invitation to participate in a new clinical research project that studies the effects of a certain oral diabetes drug on people who have severe asthma. The technical name of the study is…..
“A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Pilot Study of Pioglitazone Hydrochloride in Severe, Refractory Asthma”
It’s being conducted at the NIH in Bethesda Maryland.
This means that I’ll be traveling between San Francisco and Washington DC every 4 weeks for the next 10 months…. a total distance of 50,000 miles if I complete the entire study. Hey, I’m already an accomplished long distance walker, might as well be a long distance lab rat, right?
Ive participated in lots of asthma studies, but this one is a little different in that not only is the research being funded by the government, the research center itself is owned by the government. What a lot of people may not know, is that the NIH funds almost all of the medical research that is done in this country, including SARP.
I don’t expect to benefit directly from this particular trial, but because research studies like this that focus on refractory asthma are extremely rare, and because its a little easier for me to travel than most with this disease, I feel I have an obligation to help out if I can. My participation in the study might also give me easier access to future studies at the NIH.
The study involves an 8 month clinical trial of a diabetes drug called that Pioglitazone Hydrochloride ,that might also help people with severe asthma. It’s a double blind study, in which the research subjects are given a placebo for 4 months and the actual drug for 4 months. No one knows in what order these are given, including the researchers ( hence the double blind).
The drug carries with it some potentially severe side effects (the most serious being congestive heart failure),so the study volunteers have to be screened and come in for blood work and other lab tests every few weeks.
The government picks up for all study related travel, but I’m not sure how my body is going handle all the flying back and forth.The research coordinator is doing her best to make getting to the facility as easy as possible for me. They’re going to book me only on non-stop flights will have a cab pick me up at the airport, so that I don’t have wait for the shuttle. We’ve also worked out a schedule where I’ll only be away from home 4 days a month and only mid-week. But still, just the stress of traveling in general can have a major effect on my breathing, so the plan right now is just to see how my body handles it and take it one step at a time.
My initial appointment at the NIH is in June. At that time they’ll do a bunch a preliminary tests, including PFT’s, echocardiogram and Dexa scan to make sure I’m healthy enough to proceed with the study.
If you have severe asthma,can travel and are interested in volunteering for this study, here’s the info.