This medication is in use to treat or prevent certain skin conditions which relate to Hansen’s disease, once leprosy (erythema nodosum leprosum). Thalidomide is also in use to treat a certain type of cancer (multiple myeloma). It works in Hansen’s disease by reducing swelling and redness (inflammation). It also reduces the formation of blood vessels that feed tumors.
How to use Thalomid
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and the risk of serious side effects may increase.
Keep the capsules in their blister pack until ready to use. Do not open or break the capsules, or handle them any more than needed. If any of the powder from the capsule gets on your skin, wash the area with soap and water.
Since this drug can absorb through the skin and lungs and may harm an unborn baby, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should not handle this medication or breathe the dust from broken capsules. All people should wash their hands thoroughly after handling this drug.
This medication passes into body fluids (e.g., urine). Avoid contact with body fluids from people taking this drug. Therefore, wear protective clothing (e.g., gloves) when handling these body fluids (e.g., during cleanup). If contact occurs, wash skin with soap and water.
Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day. If you are taking this medication for Hansen’s disease, your skin condition may become worse when you stop the drug suddenly. Your dose must decrease gradually.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens after 2 weeks.
To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Thalidomide may cause possibly severe nerve damage, which may be permanent. This may occur during treatment or after treatment has stopped. Tell your doctor right away if you develop any of the following symptoms: numbness/tingling/pain/burning in the feet or hands, muscle weakness/cramps, feeling of tightness in the feet.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (e.g., confusion, anxiety), shaking (tremor), shortness of breath, arm/leg swelling, fast/slow heartbeat, easy bruising/bleeding, black/bloody stools, vomit that contains blood or looks like coffee grounds.
Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: seizures.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: fever, swollen lymph nodes, rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Tell your doctor when you start any new drug, and discuss if you should use additional reliable birth control while using the new drug and for 1 month after stopping the drug.