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Published on 27 July 2011

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Thalidomide approved for myeloma after 50-year absence

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Thalidomide has been approved for use within the NHS after a 50-year absence.

The drug, which will be used to treat myeloma, has been out of action within the UK since 1961 because of links suggesting thalidomide was responsible for birth defects in 10,000 babies.

In 1961, thalidomide was prescribed to prevent morning sickness in pregnant women, but it was hastily removed once the link to the birth defects became apparent.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has also approved the use of Velcade in the treatment of myeloma. and Eric Low, Chief Executive of Myeloma UK, said:

“It is vital that doctors have various effective treatment options in their toolbox to treat myeloma patients.

‘Today’s recommendation confirms the significant role that both Thalidomide and Velcade have to play as initial treatment options.”

NICE



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