Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Thalidomide OK'd for Multiple Myeloma

FDA Approves Thalidomide With Strict Rules to Prevent Birth Defects
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

May 26, 2006 -- The FDA has approved thalidomide -- a drug known to cause severe birth defects -- to help treat newly diagnosed multiple myelomamultiple myeloma, a cancercancer of the bone marrow.

Thalidomide was approved for use in combination with another drug, dexamethasone, for multiple myeloma. Thalidomide will be sold under the name Thalomid by Celgene Corporation. The drug will come in capsules in doses of 50 milligrams, 100 milligrams, and 200 milligrams.

The FDA had previously approved thalidomide -- with strict rules to help prevent birth defects -- to treat debilitating and disfiguring skin sores associated with erythema nodosum leprosum, an inflammatory complication of leprosy.

Those strict rules are also in place for Thalomid's use in patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma.

"If thalidomide is taken during pregnancypregnancy, it can cause severe birth defects or death to an unborn baby," states the drug's warning label. "Thalidomide should never be used by women who are pregnant or who could become pregnant while taking the drug," the label continues.

Thalidomide also carries the risk of potentially dangerous clots in the veins, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolismpulmonary embolism. DVT are clots in the deep veins of the legs. Pulmonary embolism is a clot that travels through the bloodstream to the lungs.

Today on WebMD

Building a Support System
Blog
cancer fighting foods
SLIDESHOW
 
precancerous lesions slideshow
SLIDESHOW
quit smoking tips
SLIDESHOW
 
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
Blog
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
 
colorectal cancer treatment advances
Video
breast cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
prostate cancer overview
SLIDESHOW
lung cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
Actor Michael Douglas
Article