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This chapter discusses thalidomide, a sedative-hypnotic and multiple myeloma medication, which is used to treat morning sickness in pregnancy, remains one of the most notorious and feared drugs in the world. This drug caused tissue damage, which resulted in limb deformities, but also affected ear, eye, heart, kidney, nerves, genitals and other internal organs. It gives us some idea about the history of this drug and its cause and effects on us today. These drugs adversely affect the internal organs such as heart, kidney, genitals and bowels. It is viewed that majority of birth defects in newborn children between 1957 and 1962 were due to the effects of this drug as it is used by the mother in the early stages of pregnancy, which is the time-sensitive period. Most of the thalidomide survivors suffer from limb deformity, both upper and lower. It also affects the eyes and ears a great deal. Internal organ deficit, nerve and central nervous system (CNS) deficit also constitute a major part. The most striking and defining characteristic of thalidomide embryopathy are the phocomelic limbs of survivors, which is defined as the loss of or severe shortening of the long bones of the limb. The risk assessment and toxicity are covered in an effective manner, which gives us an accurate idea about this drug. It concludes that the rising use of thalidomide around the world for the successful treatment of a large range of clinical conditions remains a risk as the drug causes adverse side effects to long-term adult users.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReproductive and Developmental Toxicology
EditorsRamesh Gupta
PublisherElsevier Science
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)978-0-12-382032-7
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


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