Drugs A - Z
Thalidomide Oral capsule
Generic Name: thalidomide
Brand Names: Thalomid
What is this medicine?THALIDOMIDE (tha LI doe mide) is used to treat diseases caused by abnormalities in the immune system. It may also be used to treat some types of cancer. This medicine causes severe, life-threatening birth defects or death to an unborn child and is only available under strict guidelines. To receive this medicine, you, your doctor and your pharmacy must be registered in the System for Thalidomide Education and Prescribing Safety (STEPS) Program. You may only receive up to a 28-day supply of this medicine at a time, and you will need a new prescription for each refill. Your prescription must be filled within 7 days of your doctor's office visit.
This medicine may be used for other purposes; ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have questions.
What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
- human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- low blood pressure
- low white blood cell count
- seizure disorder
- tingling or numbness in hands or feet or other nerve pain
- an unusual or allergic reaction to thalidomide other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
- pregnant or trying to get pregnant
- breast-feeding or planning to breast-feed
How should I use this medicine?Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on your prescription label. If you are only taking this medicine once a day, take your dose at bedtime at least 1 hour after your evening meal to decrease the drowsiness effects.
NEVER give this medicine to anyone else.
Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.
Overdosage: If you think you have taken too much of this medicine contact a poison control center or emergency room at once.
NOTE: This medicine is only for you. Do not share this medicine with others.
What if I miss a dose?If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, consult your doctor or health care professional. You may need to miss a dose or take a double dose, depending on your condition and treatment. Do not take double or extra doses without advice.
What may interact with this medicine?
- alcohol or any product that contains alcohol
- barbiturates, like phenobarbital
- certain antidepressants or tranquilizers
- certain antihistamines used in cold medicines
- medicines that may decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills
- medicines which may cause tingling, numbness or nerve pain
- muscle relaxants
This list may not describe all possible interactions. Give your health care provider a list of all the medicines, herbs, non-prescription drugs, or dietary supplements you use. Also tell them if you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illegal drugs. Some items may interact with your medicine.
What should I watch for while using this medicine?This medicine causes severe birth defects or death to an unborn child. This can happen after just ONE capsule. Both men and women must agree to take steps to prevent exposure of this medicine to an unborn child. You will receive counseling about the potential birth defects. You must also agree to follow the conditions of the System for Thalidomide Education and Prescribing Safety (STEPS) Program. The program requires pregnancy testing, birth control measures for men and women, doctor and patient education, registration of doctors, pharmacies and patients, and patient consent forms.
If you have irregular menstrual periods, miss a period, or think you may be pregnant, you should call your doctor or health care professional right away. Do NOT take this medicine if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant.
You may not donate blood while taking this medicine. Men are not permitted to donate sperm while taking this medicine. Any male taking this medicine must always use a latex condom during any sexual contact with a woman of child-bearing potential. This medicine is found in the semen of men taking it, and the risk of exposure to an unborn child is not known.
You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. Do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. This reduces the risk of dizzy or fainting spells. Alcohol may interfere with the effect of this medicine.
This medicine will cause constipation. Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional to learn how to treat this.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
- allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
- muscle cramps
- new or increased tingling or numbness in hands or feet
- unusual swelling or pain in arms or legs
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):
- constipation or diarrhea
This list may not describe all possible side effects. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Where should I keep my medicine?Keep out of reach of children. Return any unused portion of this medicine to the pharmacy where your prescription was filled. Your pharmacy will accept all unused medicine as part of the controlled distribution program.
Store at room temperature between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C). Protect from light. Do not use any expired medicine.
NOTE:This sheet is a summary. It may not cover all possible information. If you have questions about this medicine, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.