Jeanne Tung, M.D., discusses a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that tested the effects of thalidomide in children and adolescents with refractory Crohn’s disease.
After eight weeks, the patients that received thalidomide did better than the patients that received the placebo. Patients that had clinical remission from taking thalidomide were able to use this drug for 2-4 years. Some patients that lost response or had reactions to remicade did respond to thalidomide. This small clinical trail shows that patients with Crohn’s may benefit from taking thalidomide.
There are three major side effects to taking thalidomide:
- Excessive sleepiness.
- Peripheral neuropathy. This condition is reversible once thalidomide is discontinued.
- Birth defects. Women cannot get pregnant while taking thalidomide.
The full text of the study can be found here.
For more information on IBD, visit mayoclinic.org/ibd
Dr. Tung is a pediatric gastroenteroligist at Mayo Clinic.