A Controversial Drug

Thalidomide Is Nothing to Fear

Thalidomide has been a controversial drug for over fifty years. In the late 1950's its antiangiogenic properties cause the deformities in over 12,000 infants around the world. Thalidomide's initial purpose was to be used as a sedative or sleeping pill. In the years since its release, scientists have found many uses for the drug, including use of its pernicious side effect to inhibit the growth of many cancers. Thalidomide is a highly misunderstood drug with many positive applications. The history of thalidomide's weaknesses, and strengths, spans over fifty years. Thalidomide was the safer choice than barbiturate sedatives and ironically helpful in relieving morning sickness. Shortly after its release in 1961, thalidomide was link to the deformities around the world, and the sale of thalidomide was stopped worldwide.

In the ensuing years, scientists have continued to explore the characteristics of thalidomide. As scientist began to look for the exact mechanism in thalidomide that was responsible for the birth defects, they would soon discover that thalidomide had numerous uses, and only two side effects. Thalidomide could have been used to treat leprosy, soothe pains associated with leprosy. The two side effects experiences from thalidomide have been deformities, and an irreversible tingling sensation in extremities. Thalidomide was the best treatment in relieving pains from arthritis pains to ulcer pains.

Many fear the worst of the drug and do not realize that, every drug has its own risks, and every drug label has a warning to pregnant or nursing mothers. It is up to the consumer whether or not to heed the warning, or take a risk. Even with Americans being able to take their own risk, there will be steps taken to minimize the risks.

The FDA will do everything to prevent the repeating of another epidemic. No system is 100% effective, and no drug is 100% safe, but any system of prevention is worth a try. Thalidomide in the 1950's was extremely underdeveloped and only needed to be refined. More research has been performed on the drug and an explanation for the birth defects has emerged. Knowing how thalidomide works will enable scientist's to do just the opposite, make it not work. Researchers have produced many analogues, variations, of thalidomide and it is hopeful that they will engineer a form of thalidomide without harmful side effects. The risk of birth defects from thalidomide could be almost zero, and thalidomide will prove to be just what the doctor ordered, and nothing more.