Thalidomide
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Thalidomide. The Phoenix Drug. History. Medicines are poisonous – indeed, up to a century ago the medicines given were more likely to kill than cure the patient! E.g. arsenic for syphilis, strychnine for a failing heart etc. History.

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Thalidomide

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Thalidomide

Thalidomide

The Phoenix Drug


History

History

  • Medicines are poisonous – indeed, up to a century ago the medicines given were more likely to kill than cure the patient!

  • E.g. arsenic for syphilis, strychnine for a failing heart etc.


History1

History

  • This all started to change with the discovery of sulphonamides and penicillins in the early 20th Century

  • Medicines could safely cure the patient – great advances began to be made in therapy.


Thalidomide1

Thalidomide

  • Synthesised in early 1950’s by CIBA in Switzerland as a potential new medicine but they could not find any use for it.

  • Development discontinued in 1953.


Chemie gruenenthal

Chemie Gruenenthal

  • Taken up in 1954 by Chemie Gruenenthal and developed first as an anti-convulsant (ineffective!), then as an anti-histamine (ineffective!) and finally as sedative.

  • Found to be particularly useful to treat morning sickness.


Side effects of thalidomide

Side Effects of Thalidomide

  • Started to be noticed in late 1950’s but took time to associate effects with thalidomide

  • Manufacturers at this time were promoting the medicine as safe.


Side effects of thalidomide1

Side Effects of Thalidomide

  • Severe limb abnormalities in children of mothers taking thalidomide

  • Also deafness, blindness, cleft palate, internal abnormalities


Thalidomide withdrawn

Thalidomide Withdrawn!

  • Pioneering work by Frances Kelsey in the USA finally convinced the manufacturers and the World of the link between thalidomide and the horrific birth defects.

  • Thalidomide was finally withdrawn in 1961 (1962 in some countries).


Thalidomide s legacy

Thalidomide’s Legacy

  • 1000’s of people (now adults) with limb abnormalities (their children are OK)

  • Directly led to extensive safety testing of drugs before release on to market (FDA, CSM) – thalidomide never tested!

  • Thalidomide became a research tool – some very useful effects


New research areas

New research areas

  • Thalidomide has been shown to be of use in a variety of conditions:- it inhibits angiogenesis (development of new blood vessels) – use in cancer- it is anti-inflammatory- it stimulates the immune system – tuberculosis in AIDS patients


Thalidomide rises from the ashes

Thalidomide rises from the ashes!

  • In 1998 thalidomide was licensed for treatment of one form of leprosy- ENL (Erythema Nodosum Laprosum)- amazingly effective and successful- WHO showed 99% of patients improved significantly- hailed as a wonder drug (again!)


Thalidomide rises from the ashes1

Thalidomide rises from the ashes!


However

However!


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