Patients surprise diagnosis leads to clinical trial

“Without question, I would have done it all again” - that is the verdict of Alan Hutchinson when discussing his recent experience on a clinical trial.

Alan (66) from Barlestone, Leicestershire, has recently completed the SEESAW trial at the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) – a partnership between Leicester’s Hospitals, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University. SEESAW is a study comparing appetite hormones and weight change in patients with Type 2 diabetes in two groups: those who are taking a new drug called Empagliflozin and those given a placebo.

Professor Melanie Davies, Director of the NIHR Leicester BRC and Professor of Diabetes at the University of Leicester, said: “We know that type 2 diabetes is very closely associated with weight, with over 90% of newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients above their ideal weight. One way we can help patients lose weight is through drugs such as Empagliflozin that prevent the body reabsorbing glucose through the kidney.

“From previous trials, when patients take this drug, they do not tend to lose as much weight as we would expect and this may be due to how Empagliflozin affects appetite. So this study is designed to help answer that question.”

Alan said: “It all started when my wife booked me in to a Wellman clinic. I had a blood test and they said I had pre-diabetes. I was very surprised as I had no symptoms. I signed up for an education programme called DESMOND at Leicester Diabetes Centre, but while I was there I had another blood test and was told that actually it was now type 2 diabetes.”

He continued: “It was my GP that told me about the SEESAW trial. I agreed to take part because I’m a firm believer that the more you learn about your condition the better you are at handling it. I was put on a calorie-restricted diet and had to keep a food diary [as well as take a pill].

“I lost 22lb over 6 months and still keep the food diary because it helps me maintain my weight. It was a big commitment as I had to come in for full days but the staff were so supportive. It really helped having that independent person believing in you and cheering you on, so that you could stick to the programme.”

Alan won’t know whether he was on the trial drug or placebo until after the study is complete.