Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2001 Oct 20;121(25):2954-7.

[Thalidomide--a dreaded drug with new indications].

[Article in Norwegian]

Author information

Hematologisk seksjon Medisinsk avdeling Regionsykehuset i Trondheim 7006 Trondheim.



Thalidomide was introduced as a non-toxic sleeping pill in 1957 and was prescribed in more than 20 countries. In 1961 the link between congenital limb defects and thalidomide use in pregnancy was proven, resulting in withdrawal of the drug.


On the basis of literature searches and personal experience we review the effects and use of thalidomide today.


In vitro, thalidomide has immunoregulatory properties. This has lead to the administration of thalidomide in many immunological diseases. In 1964 it was discovered that thalidomide was effective against erythema nodosum leprosum. Thalidomide also has effect on aphthous stomatitis and Beh├žet's disease. The effect is more uncertain in graft-versus-host-disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease. Thalidomide reduces angiogenesis in experimental animals, and this has led to several studies of thalidomide as a possible anticancer drug. Advanced or resistant multiple myeloma may be a new target for thalidomide; at least 30% of these patients obtain response during treatment. Results indicate that patients with breast cancer and glioma do not benefit from treatment with thalidomide.


Thalidomide has proven to be effective in the treatment of erythema nodosum leprosum and aphthous stomatitis. It is also effective in advanced multiple myeloma, but not in other cancers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center