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Endometriosis: My Clinical Trial Story

As a public relations professional, I work with clients in numerous industries: manufacturing, software, cloud, etc. Working with a wide-range of clients gives you insight into their industry, their customers, their competitors, and what they do. One of my clients works in the clinical trials space, and it wasn’t until I really dug into their industry did I realize how important they are. A couple of years ago, I wrote about my ongoing battle with endometriosis.

So, I began to Google.

The information on ClinicalTrials.Gov included “Effects of Intravenous Lidocaine on Endometriosis Pain” at the Brigham and Women’s Pain Management Clinic.

We are doing this research study to find out if intravenous (in your vein, “IV”) lidocaine can lessen pain from endometriosis. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved intravenous lidocaine to treat irregular heart beats, but the FDA has not approved intravenous lidocaine to treat pain from endometriosis. Intravenous lidocaine has been used for more than 25 years to treat different pain conditions.

This was perfect. I sent my information and within a couple of hours, the principal investigator responded and scheduled a phone call to see if I qualified. The phone call consisted of general health screening questions: “How old are you? Do you smoke? History of cancer? Any surgeries?” Then, a Q&A session: “How long does this take? What are you trying to accomplish? What are the side effects?”

I qualified. I soon scheduled the first of two parts of the study.

Naturally, my family was worried. “What do you mean a study? So you’re like a guinea pig for medication? Is this safe?” Assuring them it was safe, I was excited. I was about to be a part of a trial that could help me and thousands of other women with pain management. It was an empowering feeling.

The study lasted two months and included: two 2-hour visits, five interviews, and a daily medication and pain log.

One visit you are given the placebo (Benedryl) and the other you are given the lidocaine. Each visit included an EKG, heart monitors, blood pressure monitoring, pregnancy test and blood sample.

Both of my visits were very different. One, I was able to hold a conversation with both researchers. We talked about football, winter in Boston, life in Texas, medical school, etc. and I was able to meet a friend for dinner after. The other visit, however, made me feel as though my brain had melted. It started as a euphoric feeling and ended in nausea and exhaustion (which is why I look terrible in the photo above). Despite this, I was pain free. (I’m sure you can guess which visit included the lidocaine….) It was a great feeling, to feel normal again!

The sad part was saying goodbye to the good doctors that took care of me, and now waiting for the results of the study. Will the FDA approve this as a method of pain management for endometriosis? Will I get to experience that euphoric feeling again? Many people are having those same thoughts — some with more risk that reward. Many patients participate in clinical trials simply for way to live an extra month or two.

Clinical trials are very important. They give those suffering with diseases and illnesses hope for medication and cures. They have the ability to change the future. And it doesn’t have to be as elaborate of a study as mine, it could simply be a trial looking for 100 percent healthy people. Being a participant, you are donating your body and time to this hope and to the future.

While I’m not looking for any other clinical trials at this time, I hope to participate again soon. I’d like to be a part of something that truly changed lives… even if my “results and observations” are anonymous.


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