18 August - Clomipramine my best hope?

Whilst waiting for the car to arrive to take me to Carlisle I was leafing through the Radio Times and noticed something that got my interest. On Tuesday 23 August at 8pm on BBC Radio 4 there will be a programme with the title: Treating Tumours: Old Drug, New Tricks.

According to the programme synopsis: Ten years ago, researchers discovered that the out-of-fashion antidepressant drug clomipramine has apparently remarkable anti-tumour properties. What's more the treatment costs pennies, not hundreds or thousands of pounds. Yet these scientists have struggled to find anyone to back their research.

Obviously I haven't heard the programme yet, but a quick bit of Googling on my smartphone turned up enough information to get quite excited. The Canceractive web page on using Clomipramine to treat brain tumours suggests this drug has very positive benefits in treating the aggressive glioblastoma multiforme tumour that the doctors claim I have. Of all the alternative therapies I've read about or people have told me about, Clomipramine seems to offer the best chance of beating the tumour and extending my life.
  • It kills brain tumour cells whilst sparing normal brain tissue.
  • It is an old drug so a lot is already known about its side effects: which are mostly minor - sleepiness and a dry mouth, though there is an increased risk of seizures.
  • It is compatible with the Temozolomide chemotherapy drug that I have just started taking and can increase its effectiveness.
  • Patients who have taken Clomipramine have survived for five years whereas the usual survival rate for people with glioblastoma multiforme is only a few months.
I think I should be taking this! However Clomipramine is only available on prescription in the UK, where it is used to treat OCD sufferers and by vets to treat badly behaved dogs. So I can't nip down to Boots and buy some tablets but I could try obsessively and compulsively barking at the postman and go to the vet.

Whilst I was at Carlisle today I mentioned the Radio 4 programme to the radiologists, who all duly made a note of it. I then asked if I could see the consultant doctor to discuss the possibility of trying this drug. So we'll see what he says.