A horrible drug mistake...

In short, I have been reading this amazing book called Doctors. One of the chapters dealt with the “blue-baby syndrome” I will skip the summary of that.

However, in the chapter they were talking about this drug, Contergan which was it’s USA name. This drug was released in loads in Europe and other countries. Then a company tried to bring it here, and promised no-side effects and its was a miracle drug for expectant mothers.

It was to go through a trial period, since the companies reports on it were almost too good to be true. Then the fallouts came. Mothers to be would take this cheap and easy to obtain drug for nausea and sleep apnea, and any other effects of expecting a child.

The results being reported across the world were horrifying. I thought you may be interested in reading some about it.

The reason I bring this up, Dr. Helen Taussig, the amazing and rare female doctor from this period is the one credited for curing the “blue-baby syndrome” and also for getting the “FDA” to make this drug company submit for testing before they released this drug across the country, which also required no prescription, but alot of miracles for expectant mothers. They did release around 5 tons of pills for their required research to doctor offices to give to expectant mothers. The results of taking this drug were devastating to the embryos. Causing numerous disformation and growth defects.

Read this article I was able to find…Dr. Taussig saved I believe potentially millions of American babies by fighting this drug company…

(Sorry if this post was a little hard to follow, I was trying to post it fast…)

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2886996, 00.ht…

That would’ve been its U.S. name… it is far better known as thalidomide.

Thalidomide has actually made a comeback in the U.S. as a treatment for multiple myeloma and some lymphomas. My mom had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and it was considered for her.

So then Mary it is acceptable in women who will not be a potential “mother to be?” How about in males? From your post I would surmise that as long as your not planning on children or past the age of carrying a child, this drug is considered safe.

P.S. I was typing in a big hurry and forgot to mention its more famous European name…Thanks for adding to it!!

the use of thalidomide is VERY restricted to ensure that a pregnant woman is not anywhere near it. I doubt very much that the husband of a woman of childbearing age would be considered a candidate for this treatment. I would also gently point out that “safe” is not the right word for a drug that is used for chemotherapy…

My friend’s mother, 79, diabetic with primary cancer in two different locations neither of which are able to be put into remission, is taking thalidomide.

The physicians required HER to sign the affidavit that she was not of child bearing age NOR did she intend to become pregnant.

Guess that speaks volumes about it’s efficacy against cancer as well as it’s propensity for severe birth defects.

It’s the company that makes thalidomide that is requiring those signed statements. I know my mom thought that was pretty funny when the forms were put in front of her.

If I remember right, the patient being prescribed thalidomide also has to attest his/her ability to carefully handle the medication and not leave it where someone who would be at risk could handle it or accidentally take it.

Accutane (for acne) has similarly draconian manufacturer-imposed restrictions (and is far more scary, since you’re giving it to teens and young adults usually), and Propecia (finasteride, prescribed for male pattern baldness), although not restricted, comes with warnings including that women should not touch the pills.

Obviously no one wants to be a party to prescribing a drug that leads to a birth defect, but of course there’s a lot of CYA involved here as well.