thalidomide (generic name)

It is used to treat multiple myeloma
(tha LI doe mide)
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What is this medicine?

THALIDOMIDE (tha LI doe mide) is used to treat multiple myeloma. It is also used to treat moderate to severe new lesions of leprosy and to prevent and keep the skin lesions of leprosy from coming back.

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. Do not cut, crush or chew this medicine. 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. Do not take it more often than directed. Do not stop taking except on your doctor's advice.

A special MedGuide will be given to you before each treatment. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. While this drug may be prescribed for children as young as 12 years for selected conditions, precautions do apply.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If your next dose is to be taken in less than 12 hours, then do not take

the missed dose. Take the next dose at your regular time. Do not take double or extra doses.

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

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

This medicine is available only through a special program. Doctors, pharmacies, and patients must meet all of the conditions of the program. Your health care provider will help you get signed up with the program if you need this medicine. Through the program you will only receive up to a 28 day supply of the medicine at one time. You will need a new prescription for each refill.

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. Females with child-bearing potential will need to have 2 negative pregnancy tests before starting this medicine. Pregnancy testing must be done every 2 to 4 weeks as directed while taking this medicine. Use 2 reliable forms of birth control together while you are taking this medicine and for 1 month after you stop taking this medicine. If you think that you might be pregnant talk to your doctor right away.

Men must use a latex condom during sexual contact with a woman while taking this medicine and for 28 days after you stop taking this medicine. A latex condom is needed even if you have had a vasectomy. Contact your doctor right away if your partner becomes pregnant. Do not donate sperm while taking this medicine and for 28 days after you stop taking this medicine.

Do not give blood while taking the medicine and for 1 month after completion of treatment to avoid exposing pregnant women to the medicine through the donated blood.

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.

You may need blood work done while you are taking this medicine.

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Last Updated: February 19, 2013
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