Thalidomide: what you need to know
Thalidomide was first introduced to the market as a sedative and anti-emetic for use in pregnancy in the 1950s. Distributed as Contergan in 1956, it was a popular over-the-counter product to quell morning sickness. The drug’s approval was delayed in the US after concerns emerged about a potential link between thalidomide and peripheral neuropathy, with its application eventually being refused by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1960. The first published report of the association between thalidomide and phocomelia was in a letter to The Lancet in 1961 by William McBride, an Australian obstetrician. Worldwide, the number of affected infants ranged between 8,000 and 12,000. As a result, thalidomide was withdrawn from the market in the early 1960s.
Dermatology in practice 2014; 20(4): 4–6
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