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How Does It Work?

It is not entirely known how thalidomide works. When used for treating multiple myeloma, thalidomide may modify the production of certain proteins called cytokines that are involved in the growth and survival of cancer cells. The medication may also block the growth of blood vessels around the cancer cells, which prevents the cancer cells from getting the nutrition they need to grow.
When used for treating or preventing ENL, thalidomide likely works by blocking the inflammatory action of certain proteins (especially tumor necrosis factor).

When and How to Take the Medication

Some general considerations to keep in mind during treatment with thalidomide include the following:
  • This medication comes in the form of a capsule. It is usually taken by mouth once a day, preferably at bedtime.
  • You should take thalidomide with a large glass of water, at least one hour after a meal.
  • Do not remove thalidomide from the blister pack until you are ready to take your dose.
  • Thalidomide capsules should be swallowed whole; do not open, break, or chew them.
  • Take your dose at around the same time each day to keep an even level of the medication in your bloodstream.
  • For the medication to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. Do not stop taking it without first talking to your healthcare provider.

Dosing Information for Thalidomide

The dose of thalidomide your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
  • The reason you are taking the medication
  • How well you tolerate the medication
  • Your weight.
As is always the case, do not adjust your dosage unless your healthcare provider specifically tells you to do so.
(Click Thalidomide Dosage for more information.)
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