Secondary Breast Cancer


Sativex Trial

By AD

Today was one of my normal 3-weekly visits to the Marsden for herceptin & pamidronate, with a difference . For those of you that don't know me - my lot is to have extensive bone mets which I have had for 7 years now. Over the past year pain has been difficult to control and as well as taking opioid drugs I have also had a spinal nerve block. This is now wearing off so I thought before trying another nerve block it may be worth giving this trial a go. It is specifically for those who have been on oromorph or oxycodone and who are not getting the control they need on these drugs and are not happy to increase that dosage

I had learned of it from a leaflet I picked up at the Marsden. I phoned the Trial Nurse and arranged to talk to her at my next Pain Clinic appointment. She gave me the paperwork to take home and read over the weekend, and phoned me on the Monday to ask if I wanted to go ahead.

Having said yes she arranged to meet up with me in the Day Unit today. I think I even got a bed today on the strength of that! I was able to go through the preliminaries and along with usual bloods she had her tube at the ready too - I gather they will be checking I havent had any cannabis recently LOL, and kidney function among other things. Next the pee pot appeared so I went and filled it for her. Then a full ECG and check by a Doctor of my mouth, chest and tum. She then took full medical history which she will check against computer records and re-confirm that with me and a list of all the meds I was currently on. Now I have to phone a freephone toll no. every night to report on a scale of 0-10, my average pain over 24hrs, my worst pain over 24hrs, quality of sleep (no probs there ) and how many breakthrough doses of drugs I have taken.

The next step is that someone is monitoring this information and when they have what they want (could take from 5-14 days) I will go on to the next stage.

The trial is a double blind and I have a 1 in 4 chance of a placebo. The other 3 parts are groups on different doses of the drug. The drug is called Sativex and comes in the form of a mouth spray, but to you and me simple folk the word is cannabis!!!   If you want the technical stuff it contains the ingredients tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). It will last 9 weeks and I can opt out at any point if I am not happy. I do not have to give any reason for doing this.

I was quite surprised to find I was the first one on the trial. I read that the study will take place at up to 130 centres across the world incl. UK. Approx 336 people will take part. That sounds like very few in each centre if that is how it works. It has already been approved for prescription use in Canada for MS and for the relief of pain in people with advanced cancer - oh the info goes on and on so I wont totally bore you. Why am I doing it? Maybe I am a junkie - I like my lollipops (don't ask). Maybe I am trying to find what I missed in the 60s. Maybe it is because I would like to be relieved of this ***** pain.

Watch this space.