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Thalidomide Birth Defects

Taking thalidomide (Thalomid®) during pregnancy can cause severe birth defects and even death in an unborn baby. As a result, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified thalidomide as a pregnancy Category X medication, which means the potential risks clearly outweigh the potential benefits of this drug.
 
The most common birth defect reported from using thalidomide during pregnancy is abnormal development of the arms and legs. The arms and legs may be shortened or, in severe cases, missing.
 
A variety of other defects have also been reported, such as malformations of the head and face, eyes, ears, tongue, teeth, lungs, heart, and digestive tract.
 
Thalidomide has also been reported to cause death at or shortly after birth in about 40 percent of infants whose mothers took the medicine while pregnant.
 
(To learn more about possible birth defects that may occur during thalidomide treatment, click Thalomid and Pregnancy. This article also describes the strict regulations a woman of childbearing potential must follow while taking this drug.)
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