Thalidomide, known as the brand name Thalomid, is a known therapy for patients who are newly diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Patients who have been recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma are often given a combination treatment of Thalidomide and dexamethasone.
Recently, research has shown that there are new possible uses for Thalidomide to treat a variety of conditions. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported positive findings from a study published on November 26, 2013 about the use of Thalidomide for Crohn’s disease. This study included an 8 week trial to assess the use of Thalidomide for children and adolescents who had unresectable Crohn’s disease which had not responded to previous best in care treatments. This clinical trial was held in Italy and involved 56 patients who were either children or adolescents. The young patient population was randomized to receive either Thalidomide or a placebo one time a day for eight weeks total. The patients who were administered with Thalidomide had a significantly greater chance of remission in comparison to the group of patients who were dosed with a placebo. Of the 49 children who were administered with Thalidomide 63.3% achieved a status of clinical remission at the eight week mark of the study. Additionally, 65.3% of the children and adolescents who were given Thalidomide experienced a 75% response rate.
With roughly half a million people in the United States suffering from Crohn’s disease the information gleaned provides a glimmer of hope for the youngest patients suffering with this debilitating condition. One quarter of all people diagnosed with Crohn’s disease develop their initial symptoms as children, which often become severe as they reach adulthood and become resistant to traditional therapies.
Thalidomide is also an effectual drug approved to treat inflammatory diseases of the skin and mucous membranes, like as an acute treatment for patients with severe erythema nodosum leprosum (leprosy), also known as ENL. This specific patient group with ENL should have a moderate to severe cutaneous manifestation, and Thalidomide is not advised as a monotherapy if the patient has either moderate or severe neuritis. Thalidomide is recommended as a preventative maintenance therapy for the suppression of ENL cutaneous manifestations as well. Research is currently underway to examine whether Thalidomide is also efficacious for treating other skin conditions, such cutaneous lupus, Behcet’s disease, and HIV-related mouth and throat ulcers.
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