Jenny is in a trial of different ways of treating heavy periods at her GP surgery. The trial compares standard treatment with a new kind of coil or intrauterine device which releases a hormone in the womb.
Jenny’s life was severely affected by heavy bleeding and pain during her periods. She went to her GP to ask for treatment, and he asked if she would like to be part of the ECLIPSE trial. This is comparing standard treatments (tablets, or the contraceptive pill or injection) with a newer treatment, a coil or intrauterine device which slowly releases a hormone into the womb. The trial is looking at both the effect on bleeding and on the woman’s quality of life (assessed by a regular questionnaire).
Jenny was desperate to have any treatment, and was happy to take part in the trial in the hope that it would solve the problem. She is a nurse by background and has worked as a representative for a pharmaceutical company, so she knew a bit about medical research and clinical trials already. She had no particular preference for which treatment she would get. She was randomised to the group receiving standard treatments, and her GP prescribed mefenamic acid tablets.
At first she felt the tablets were making a difference, although looking back she wonders if that was just a placebo effect, as she was just so glad to have started treatment. But after some months she went back to her GP and told him the bleeding was still very bad. He changed her to the group having the special coil. Since then, Jenny’s symptoms have improved dramatically and her periods have almost stopped. She wishes now she had been allocated originally to the group given the coil, but she never thought about dropping out of the trial and feels the care at her surgery has been very good. She is unsure whether she will be told the results of the trial, but would like to know – though her own experience with the coil has been so good she would find it hard to believe it if the results showed standard treatment was better.
She would definitely consider taking part in another trial, but it would be in order to get treatment rather than to be altruistic. She would be less happy to take part in a trial where she might be given a placebo. Jenny has recently had surgery for a cerebral aneurysm (an abnormal bulge in an artery in her brain), and would be interested in any research into aneurysms. She also thinks understanding the causes of the fibroids which have led to her heavy bleeding is an important research topic.