Thalidomide capsule

Thalidomide capsule

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This image is part of the feature Worst Drugs in Modern Medicine

Credit: DR P. MARAZZI/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Thalidomide capsule. Thalidomide was prescribed in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a sleep aid and anti-nausea medication for pregnant mothers with morning sickness. It caused the babies of numerous women to be born with defects such as phocomelia (a deformity in which the hands or feet develop on stunted limbs), thus it was banned in 1962. However, later research found that it was an effective anti-cancer drug that could also be used to treat leprosy.

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