Horizon - Thalidomide, A Wonder Drug (Second Chance) - [2004-02-12]
Thalidomide is an anti-nausea and sedative drug that was introduced in the late 1950s to be used as a sleeping pill, and was quickly discovered to help pregnant women with the effects of morning sickness. It was sold from 1957 until 1962, when it was withdrawn after being found to be a teratogen, which caused many different forms of birth defects.
The negative effects of thalidomide led to the development of more structured drug regulations and control over drug use and development. Modern uses of thalidomide (trademarked as Thalomid, according to FDA Orange Book) include treating multiple myeloma in combination with dexamethasone, treating erythema nodosum leprosum, and alleviating symptoms of HIV, with strict controls to prevent birth defects. Research is ongoing in its use to treat other cancers and autoimmune conditions, although its use is controversial.