Thalidomide - oral

Patient Medicine Information
Why do I need this medicine?
Thalidomide is used on its own or together with other medicines to treat a type of cancer called “multiple myeloma”. It is also used to treat inflammatory complications of leprosy (a bacterial infection that affects the skin, mucous membrane and nerve).

Thalidomide may be used to treat other conditions as decided by your doctor.
How do I take this medicine?
Take Thalidomide exactly as directed by your doctor or according to the instructions on the label. Do not take more or less than instructed by your doctor.

This medicine should be taken on an empty stomach at least 1 hour after a meal, with a full glass of water. Preferably given at bedtime. Try to take it at the same time each day.

Thalidomide is a hazardous agent. Avoid handling the capsule unless it is time for you to take the medicine. Do not break the capsule. If you come in contact with the powder content of this medicine, wash the affected area thoroughly with soap and water.
What should I do if I have forgotten to take this medicine?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and return to your normal dosing schedule.

DO NOT double a dose under any circumstances.

If you often forget to take your medicine, let your doctor and pharmacist know.
When should I not use this medicine?
Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant or planning to have a baby soon. If you become pregnant while being treated with Thalidomide, alert your doctor immediately. This medicine may cause harm to your unborn child. You must use proven birth control methods while taking Thalidomide.

Alert your doctor if you have any problems complying with the required contraceptive measures, as this medicine may not be suitable for you.
What should I take note of while taking this medicine?
Inform your doctor if you have the following conditions:

- history of heart attack
- history of blood clots
- smoking habits
- high blood pressure
- high cholesterol levels

Do not donate blood during Thalidomide treatment. Inform your doctor if it is necessary for you to donate blood.

For as long as you are taking this medicine, you may need to have regular blood count, viral load for those with HIV infection, thyroid and liver function tests to check your body's response to the medicine. Your doctor will advise you about how often you need to have these tests.
What side effects could I experience?
Thalidomide may cause dizziness or drowsiness. This medicine may also cause you to suddenly fall asleep during your daily activities such as eating and watching television. If affected, do not drive or take part in any activity in which you need to be alert.

Other side effects may include any of the following: constipation, nausea, weight loss or gain, diarrhoea, tiredness, confusion, anxiety, headache, dry skin, muscle weakness, tremor and difficulty in sleeping.

Some side effects may need immediate medical help. Alert your doctor quickly if you experience any of the following:

- rashes with peeling of the skin or blistering of the lips, mouth or eyes accompanied by fever
- tingling or numbness sensation in the hands or feet.
- unusual bleeding or bruising, frequent and persistent sore throat with fever

Inform your doctor if any of these side effects do not go away or are severe, or if you experience other side effects.
Can I take this with other medicines?
Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any of these medicines:

- medicines for mood disorders e.g. chlorpromazine, lithium
- medicines for cancer e.g. doxorubicin, vincristine
- medicines for epilepsy (fits or seizures) e.g. phenobarbital, phenytoin
- medicines for stomach ulcer e.g. cimetidine, famotidine
- warfarin (blood-thinning medicine)

This list does not include all medicines that may interact with Thalidomide.

Inform your doctor if you are currently taking birth control pills as this can reduce the effectiveness of Thalidomide. You should not stop or start any birth control pills without first informing your doctor. Ask your doctor about using non-hormonal birth control as an alternative while being treated with this medicine.

Always notify your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including herbal tonics such as traditional Chinese medicines, supplements and medicines that you buy without a prescription.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Avoid alcohol.
How should I store this medicine?
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.

Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.
This information is independently developed by MIMS based on thalidomide - oral and is provided for your reference only. It is not a replacement for and should only be used in conjunction with full consultation with a licensed healthcare professional, the information provided by your pharmacist and/or the manufacturer of the medication. It may not contain all the available information you require and cannot substitute professional medical care, nor does it take into account all individual circumstances. Although great effort has been made to ensure content accuracy, we shall not be held responsible or liable for any claims or damages arising from the use or misuse of the information contained herein, its contents or omissions, or otherwise. Copyright © 2021 MIMS. All rights reserved. Powered by
Exclusive offer for doctors
Register for a MIMS account and receive free medical publications worth $768 a year.
Sign up for free
Already a member? Sign in