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Just like any medicine, thalidomide can cause side effects. Although not everyone who uses the drug will have problems, most people will experience some type of side effect during thalidomide treatment.
If reactions do occur, in most cases, they are usually mild and either require no treatment or can be treated easily by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
Common side effects of thalidomide include but are not limited to:
- Low levels of calcium in the blood
- Swelling, especially of the arms, hands, legs, ankles, or feet (edema)
- Numbness, tingling, or burning sensations of the skin
- Muscle weakness.
(Click Thalidomide Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking this medication if you have:
- Had a blood clot in your lungs or veins
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
- A low level of white blood cells
- An abnormally low heart rate (bradycardia)
- A history of seizures
- Not had a hysterectomy or been in menopause for at least 24 months (for women)
- Any allergies, including to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see Thalomid and Pregnancy)
- Breastfeeding (see Thalomid and Breastfeeding).
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Thalidomide to learn more, including information on who should not take the drug.)