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Thalidomide Side Effects

If you are taking thalidomide, you will likely develop some type of side effect during treatment. Studies have shown that many people taking this medication experience side effects like constipation, fatigue, and low blood levels of calcium. Although many reactions are easily treated, make sure you seek immediate medical care if you develop a skin rash, chest pain, or other serious complications.

An Introduction to Side Effects of Thalidomide

Just like any medicine, thalidomide (Thalomid®) can cause side effects. Although not everyone who uses the drug will have problems, the majority of people will experience some type of side effect during treatment.
If reactions do occur, in most cases, they are mild and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider. Serious side effects are less common.
(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with thalidomide. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list with you.)

Serious Thalidomide Side Effects

Some side effects of thalidomide are potentially serious and should be reported immediately to your healthcare provider. These include but are not limited to:
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as:
    • An unexplained rash
    • Hives
    • Itching
    • Unexplained swelling, especially of the mouth, lips, or throat
    • Wheezing
    • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • A rash, which may be a sign of a potentially life-threatening skin reaction known as Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS)
  • Signs of infection, such as:


  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling in an arm or leg
  • A slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the hands or feet (neuropathy)
  • Seizures.
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Thalidomide Drug Information

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