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thalidomide Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Warnings & Dosing

What dosages is thalidomide available in?

What dosages is thalidomide available in?

thalidomide is available as a 50 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg and 200 mg oral capsule.

What is thalidomide used for?

What is thalidomide used for?

thalidomide is an immunomodulator that is used to treat:
Newly diagnosed multiple myeloma, given together with dexamethasone
Prevention and treatment of a skin reaction in leprosy (erythema nodosum leprosum)

How does thalidomide work?

How does thalidomide work?

We don’t completely understand how thalidomide works to treat multiple myeloma. But we do know it blocks several pathways that otherwise help cancer cells grow. When thalidomide blocks pathways like these, multiple myeloma cells can’t grow and spread as well. It also activates the immune system to attack and kill cancer cells.

In addition, thalidomide blocks the activity of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), which are inflammatory signals made by the body. TNF-alpha causes inflammation, which worsens skin conditions like erythema nodosum leprosum (ENL) in leprosy. When thalidomide blocks TNF-alpha, the skin lesions get better.

How do I take thalidomide?

How do I take thalidomide?

thalidomide is dosed as follows:
Multiple myeloma

The typical dose is 200 mg by mouth once a day at bedtime, taken together with dexamethasone as part of a 28-day treatment cycle.

Erythema nodosum leprosum

Your provider will determine your dose based on body weight. The typical dose ranges from 100 mg to 300 mg by mouth once a day, ideally at bedtime. Usually, you’ll continue treatment until symptoms go away (which can take at least 2 weeks). Once appropriate, your provider will lower your dose slowly over 2 to 4 weeks to help you safely stop this medication.

Is it safe for me to take thalidomide?

Is it safe for me to take thalidomide?

thalidomide is a safe and effective treatment when used for FDA licensed indications. However, like all medications, they may give you unwanted side effects. You should always discuss potential side effects with your physician to ensure the medication is suitable and right for you. You should not use this medication if you are pregnant.

thalidomide Common Side Effects

thalidomide Common Side Effects

Common side effects of thalidomide:

  • Tiredness
  • Lower calcium levels in blood
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Constipation
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Trouble breathing
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lower white blood cell counts
  • Rash
  • Confusion
  • Lower appetite
  • Nausea
  • Feeling nervous or anxious
  • Tremor/shaking
thalidomide Serious Side Effects

thalidomide Serious Side Effects

Serious side effects are rare with thalidomide. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of the following.

Blood clots in the lung, arm, or leg: trouble breathing, chest pain, swelling or pain in the arm or leg
Heart attack: Chest pain that spreads to the stomach or back, trouble breathing, nausea, vomiting
Stroke: headache, confusion, numbness or weakness on one side of the body, vision problems, trouble speaking
Serious skin reactions: painful blisters, skin wounds, peeling skin, fever, sore throat, body aches
Low white blood cell counts: fever, signs of infection such as cough, body aches, or chills
Serious bleeds: bleeding that’s difficult to stop, bruises that don’t go away, nausea, vomiting, pain, pale and clammy skin

Effects of other drugs, drug classes and over-the-counter products on thalidomide

Effects of other drugs, drug classes and over-the-counter products on thalidomide

The following medications may interact with thalidomide:

  • Use caution if other drugs which have sedative and hypnotic properties, slow cardiac
  • conduction and/or cause peripheral neuropathy must be used.
  • It is not known whether concomitant use of hormonal contraceptives further
  • increases the risk of thromboembolism with thalidomide.
  • Patients taking concomitant therapies such as erythropoietin stimulating agents or
  • estrogen containing therapies may have an increased risk of thromboembolism.
Who makes thalidomide?

Who makes thalidomide?

Various FDA-approved generic manufacturers

Is thalidomide safe in pregnancy?

Is thalidomide safe in pregnancy?

If thalidomide is taken during pregnancy, it can cause severe birth defects
or embryo-fetal death. thalidomide should never be used by females who
are pregnant or who could be pregnant while taking the drug. Even a single
dose [1 capsule (regardless of strength)] taken by a pregnant woman
during her pregnancy can cause severe birth defects.
Pregnancy must be excluded before start of treatment. Prevent pregnancy
thereafter by the use of two reliable methods of contraception.


What to do if you missed your thalidomide dose

The FDA's medical product safety reporting program for health professionals, patients and consumers.

Learn more about reporting side effects
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Medical Disclaimer

NowPatient has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that all material is factually accurate, complete, and current. However, the knowledge and experience of a qualified healthcare professional should always be sought after instead of using the information on this page. Before taking any drug, you should always speak to your doctor or another qualified healthcare provider.

The information provided here about medications is subject to change and is not meant to include all uses, precautions, warnings, directions, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or negative effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a particular medication does not imply that the medication or medication combination is appropriate for all patients or for all possible purposes.

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