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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Thalidomide

These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

General Information
Question: What is Thalidomide? I saw it on television.

Answer: Thalidomide was a notorious drug in the early 60s. This drug was used as a sleep sedative and was kept out of the U.S. by the FDA. Subsequently, it was found out that it induced severe fetal abnormalities when pregnant women took the drug in certain stages of pregnancy. It produced foreshortening of the limbs and children would look like they had flippers instead of normal arms and legs. In the last few years, it has been used in both AIDS and leprosy and may be cleared for certain very clear indications in the future.

General Information
Question: I am trying to find info on the recent usage of the drug, Thalidomide that was used in the 50's and 60's for pregnant women to reduce morning sickness. I believe it is now being used again on AIDS patients and on possibly another group on ill people.

Answer: This drug has been used to treat several types of problems which involve the immune system. Ranging from lupus to AIDS. Currently, the drug is only available to treat leprosy and is only available through the Hansen's Disease Clinic in Carville, Louisiana.

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