Thalidomid®, (There may be other brand names for this medication)
How is it Administered?
Your medicine will be taken by mouth.
What is it Used For?
This drug is used to treat multiple myeloma.
Thalidomide must not be taken by women who are pregnant or who could become pregnant while taking this medication. Even a single dose of thalidomide taken during pregnancy can cause severe birth defects (physical problems present in the baby at birth) or death of the unborn baby.
A program called System for Thalidomide Education and Prescribing Safety (S.T.E.P.S.®) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make sure that pregnant women do not take thalidomide and that women do not become pregnant while taking thalidomide.
Everyone who is prescribed thalidomide, including men and women who cannot become pregnant, must be registered with S.T.E.P.S.®, have a thalidomide prescription from a doctor who is registered with S.T.E.P.S.®, and have the prescription filled at a pharmacy that is registered with S.T.E.P.S.® in order to receive this medication.
You will need to see your doctor every month during your treatment to talk about your condition and any side effects you may be experiencing. At each visit, your doctor may give you a prescription for up to a 28-day supply of medication with no refills. You must have this prescription filled within 7 days.
How Does Thalidomide Work?
Exactly how thalidomide works against cancer cells is not yet know. thalidomide is classified as an immunomodulatory agent, and an anti-angiogenic agent. An immunomodulatory agent helps your own immune system to fight the cancer. An anti-angiogenic agent is a medication that interferes with the growth of new blood vessels – new blood vessels that the cancer builds to provide its ever-growing need for more nutrients.
There are also theories that thalidomide may work by decreasing the body’s production of cytokines (growth factors), that are used for the growth of the cancer cells and/or affect the genes that control a the cell’s metabolism and apoptosis (death).