thalidomide

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thalidomide

(thəlĭd`əmĭd'), sleep-inducing drug found to produce skeletal defects in developing fetuses. The drug was marketed in Europe, especially in West Germany and Britain, from 1957 to 1961, and was thought to be so safe that it was sold without prescription. In 1961 an extremely high incidence of European babies born with malformed, shortened limbs was correlated with use of thalidomide by women in their first trimester of pregnancy. Before it was recalled from use the drug had caused the malformation of about 8,000 children throughout the world.

Thalidomide never entirely disappeared from use, however, and it was later found to benefit some leprosyleprosy
or Hansen's disease
, chronic, mildly infectious malady capable of producing, when untreated, various deformities and disfigurements. It is caused by the rod-shaped bacterium Mycobacterium leprae, first described by G.
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 patients. In 1998, after a complex safety monitoring system had been established to prevent further birth defects, thalidomide was approved for use in the United States for a complication of leprosy. The drug is also used to treat multiple myeloma, a cancer that affects the bone marrow.

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thalidomide

[thə′lid·ə‚mīd]
(pharmacology)
C13H10N2O4 A drug used as a sedative and hypnotic; may produce teratogenic effects when administered during pregnancy.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

thalidomide

supposedly harmless sedative resulted in disfigured babies. [Am. Hist.: Van Doren, 582–583]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

thalidomide

a. a synthetic drug formerly used as a sedative and hypnotic but withdrawn from the market when found to cause abnormalities in developing fetuses. Formula: C13H10N2O4
b. (as modifier): a thalidomide baby
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005