SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects are:
Other important side effects include:
Thalidomide also causes nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy), slow heart rate, hypertension, hypotension, and a decrease in white blood cells. Symptoms of nerve damage are tingling, numbness and pain in the feet or hands.
GENERIC AVAILABLE: No
PREPARATIONS: Capsules: 50, 100, 150, and 200 mg
STORAGE: Thalidomide should be store at room temperature 15 C - 30 C (59 F - 86 F) and protected from light.
DOSING: The recommended adult dose is 100-400 mg daily for treatment of leprosy. The dose for treating multiple myeloma is 200 mg daily in combination with dexamethasone. Thalidomide should be administered in the evening at least one hour after meals and with a full glass of water.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Thalidomide increases the sedative effect of alcohol and other drugs that cause drowsiness (for example, diazepam [Valium]). Drugs that slow heart rate add to the heart slowing effects of thalidomide. Examples of such drugs include calcium channel blockers (CCBs), beta blockers, and digoxin (Lanoxin). The incidence of peripheral neuropathy increases when thalidomide is combined with other drugs (for example, amiodarone [Cordarone], cisplatin, phenytoin [Dilantin, Dilantin-125]) that also cause peripheral neuropathy.
PREGNANCY: Thalidomide is very harmful to the fetus. Therefore, thalidomide should be avoided during pregnancy. Men and women who are taking thalidomide should use appropriate methods of birth control. Moreover, women of childbearing age should practice two forms of birth control concurrently. Men taking thalidomide should not donate sperm, and thalidomide users should not donate blood since the recipients of the sperm and blood may receive small amounts of thalidomide.
URSING MOTHERS: It is not known whether thalidomide is excreted in breast milk.
Medically reviewed by Eni Williams, PharmD
Reference: FDA Prescribing Information
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