Thalidomide Pharmion has been granted a licence for use in combination with melphalan and prednisolone as first-line treatment for patients with untreated multiple myeloma aged 65 years or over, or patients who are not eligible for high-dose chemotherapy.
Originally developed as treatment for insomnia and morning sickness in the 1950s, thalidomide has since been shown to be highly active against myeloma. It has immunosuppressive properties that appear to inhibit the growth and survival of myeloma cells, as well as inhibit the growth of new blood vessels.
To prevent exposure of pregnant women to thalidomide, healthcare professionals and patients are required to adhere to the measures specified in the Thalidomide Pharmion Pregnancy Prevention Programme. The programme links product supply to education of the prescriber, dispensing pharmacist and patient.
Further information: Celgene Ltd