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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Store in a cool, dry place away from the reach of children.
Medicines must not be used past the expiry date.