Thalidomides Drug Class

Thalidomides are used as the treatment of multiple myeloma, as well as to prevent Erythema Nodosum Leprosum symptoms like fever, skin sores and nerve damage. To treat multiple myeloma, it strengthens the immune system to bout with cancer cells, and blocks some natural substances that cause swelling in fighting ENL.

Thalidomides Drugs

Immunomodulatory drugs other than thalidomide include:

Thalidomides Uses

 

Thalidomide is used as a treatment of skin conditions that involve irritation and swelling. Likewise, it treats:

  • Aphthous stomatitis _ complication of HIV virus wherein ulcers form in the mouth
  • HIV-associated diarrhea
  • HIV-associated wasting syndrome
  • Kaposi’s sarcoma _ type of skin cancer
  • Crohn’s disease _ when the body attacks the digestive tract causing diarrhea, fever, pain and weight loss

The drug is also taken as a treatment of tumors, cancer, severe weight loss and chronic graft versus host disease. The latter happens after a bone marrow transplant when the newly transplanted bone marrow attacks the recipient’s body.

It is important for people taking thalidomide to consult their physicians to talk about usage of other medicines, dosage, possible side effects, allergies, and complications.

The medicine comes in a capsule, orally taken and with water once a day during bedtime after an hour after the evening meal, and the same time every day. For ENL treatment, the doctor may suggest taking it more than once a day, an hour after a meal at least. Directions of dosage and others should be strictly followed.

Thalidomides are used as the treatment of multiple myeloma, as well as to prevent Erythema Nodosum Leprosum symptoms like fever, skin sores and nerve damage. To treat multiple myeloma, it strengthens the immune system to bout with cancer cells, and blocks some natural substances that cause swelling in fighting ENL.

Thalidomides Side Effects

People taking thalidomide are warned of its possible dangerous side effects. The drug may put the user to life-threatening and severe birth defects. Thus, pregnant women or those who could get pregnant are not allowed to take the drug.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the Thalidomide REMS program, previously System for Thalidomide Education and Prescribing Safety to ensure the drug stays away from pregnant women and those taking it already should not get pregnant. All men and women prescribed the drug, the prescribing physician and the pharmacy that will fill the prescription must be registered with the program.

Those taking thalidomide are advised not to share the drug with others, even with the same symptoms. They are also advised not to donate blood or sperm, even within a month after the treatment.

Women may be required to take birth control for a month before taking thalidomide and four weeks after treatment. The physician will specify which form of birth control is to be taken. Those who have no menstruation for two years in a row had their uterus removed or assure not to have sexual activities may be exempted from taking the contraceptives. Those, who become pregnant, should stop taking thalidomide immediately and inform their doctor.

For men taking thalidomide, they are advised to use synthetic condom or latex or avoid sexual contact if possible as the drug can be present in semen. This is required even with those who have a vasectomy.

Other side effects of thalidomide are:

  • anxiety
  • blistering and peeling skin
  • change in appetite and weight
  • confusion
  • constipation
  • difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, as well as achieving or maintaining erection
  • dizziness and drowsiness
  • dry mouth and skin
  • headache
  • hoarseness
  • infection such as cough or chills
  • itching
  • mood changes or depression
  • nausea
  • nerve damage
  • pain in bones, joints, back or muscles
  • pale skin
  • rash
  • seizures
  • sore throat
  • slow or fast heartbeat
  • swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, hands, tongue, lips, face and eyes
  • uncontrollable shaking of a body part
  • weakness

Thalidomides Interactions

Unless the doctors suggest on a particular diet, patients can continue with their usual diet while taking the drug. Since those taking thalidomide are required to take contraceptives, patients should tell their doctors what medication they are currently taking, or about to take, because some medications can make contraceptives less effective. Hormonal contraceptives like birth control pills, injections, implants, patches, intrauterine devices or rings, as well as herbal supplements and vitamins, may be interfered with the action of other drugs.

Those using the drug with chemotherapy medications like Dexamethasone may risk themselves of blood clots in the lungs, legs and arms. Patients should call their doctors immediately when they experience pain, redness, swelling of legs or arms, redness, warmth, chest pain and shortness of breath.