Health Canada, the government health regulatory agency has issued a safety warning about the risk of blood clots with the drug thalidomide.
While uncommon, blood clots in the arteries can happen in patients taking thalomide (thalidomide) especially during the first 5 months of use. Some clots have resulted in death due to heart attack or stroke. A blood clot in the heart can cause chest pain, which can spread to the arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach. Patients may also feel sweaty, out of breath and nauseated. A blood clot in the brain can cause difficulty in seeing or speaking which may be signs of a stroke. Patients who experience thesesymptoms should seek medical help immediately.
Health Canada has authorised the use of Thalomide in very limited circumstances to treat multiple myeloma in patients 65 years of age or older. Thalomide is approved for this use by the US FDA as well as to treat new lesions of leporacy. Thalidomide should never be taken by women who are pregnant or who could become pregnant while taking the drug. Even a single dose taken by a woman during pregnancy can cause severe birth defects or death to an unborn baby. Thalidomide was responsible for severe limb deformities and other birth defects in the early 1960s when it was on the market as a sedative.