How does this medicine work?
Thalidomide may be used to treat brain tumors, other tumors, or patients who have graft versus host disease after bone marrow transplantation. It works by preventing blood vessel growth into tumors, “starving” the tumor of nutrients necessary for growth.
How is it given?
Thalidomide is given by mouth. It comes in capsule form. Because it may cause drowsiness, it should be given at bedtime. It should be given at regular times to keep a steady level in the bloodstream. Your child should be awake and alert when taking any medicine.
Do not take the capsule out of the blister pack until it is time to take it.
The capsule should be taken whole and not broken or chewed.
For children who cannot swallow capsules:
- Put on gloves.
- Open capsule inside a clear plastic bag.
- Mix the powder with a very small amount (1 teaspoon) of soft food, such as applesauce, yogurt, ice cream, chocolate syrup, or jelly. Make sure your child takes all of the mixture.
- Wash spoons and container right after use. Discard the plastic bag and gloves.
Are there any precautions about food or other medicines?
Thalidomide should be given at bedtime and at least 1 hour after the evening meal (on an empty stomach).
Do not give any other medicines, including over-the-counter medicine, until you have checked with your child’s doctor. Alcohol and barbiturates (sleeping medicines) will cause extra drowsiness when taken with thalidomide.
What should I do if a dose is missed?
If one dose is missed, give it as soon as remembered. Never give a double dose.
More than one capsule may be needed for each dose. If your child vomits (throws up) within 30 minutes after receiving a capsule, give it again. If your child vomits after 30 minutes, do not repeat that capsule. (Use safety equipment to clean up any vomit.)
Call the doctor if your child misses or vomits 2 doses in a row.
What are the side effects?
Thalidomide can cause severe birth defects or death to an unborn baby. Even one capsule can cause serious harm.Pregnant women should not take thalidomide. Men should not father children while taking thalidomide. Before the doctor prescribes thalidomide for you or your child, you will receive special written information about this drug and its ability to harm an unborn child.
Other side effects include:
- change in appetite
- nausea (upset stomach)
- rash, hives
- weakness in legs and arms
- dry mouth and skin
- numbness, tingling, burning, pain, or cramps in the hands and feet
- sensitivity of skin and eyes to the sun
- mood changes
- no menstruation
- concentration problems
- low white blood count
- liver or kidney problems