Thalidomide Side Effects
What should I watch for?
This drug may make you feel generally unwell. This is not uncommon, as chemotherapy can affect healthy cells as well as cancer cells. Report any side effects. Continue your course of treatment even though you feel ill unless your doctor tells you to stop. You may need blood work done while you are taking 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. Both men and women must use effective birth control with this medicine. 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. Do not breast-feed an infant while taking this medicine.
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.
Common and Rare Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
dizziness or lightheadedness
pain, redness, or swelling in the arm or leg
tingling, burning, numbness, or pain in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
Blood in the urine
Incidence not known
Black, tarry stools
blistering of the skin
blood in the stools
difficulty with speaking
inability to move the arms, legs, or facial muscles
inability to speak
muscle jerking of the arms and legs
peeling and loosening of the skin
pinpoint red spots on the skin
red skin lesions, often with a purple center
red, irritated eyes
sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
sudden loss of consciousness
unusual bleeding or bruising
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
dryness of the mouth
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.