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Thalomid Side Effects

Generic Name: thalidomide

Note: This document contains side effect information about thalidomide. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Thalomid.

In Summary

Common side effects of Thalomid include: asthenia. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to thalidomide: oral capsule

Along with its needed effects, thalidomide (the active ingredient contained in Thalomid) may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur while taking thalidomide:

More common

  • Anxiety
  • chest pain
  • cough
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • fainting
  • fast heartbeat
  • muscle weakness
  • pain, redness, or swelling in the arm or leg
  • tingling, burning, numbness, or pain in the hands, arms, feet, or legs
  • troubled breathing


Incidence not known

  • Black, tarry stools
  • bleeding gums
  • blistering of the skin
  • blood in the stools
  • confusion
  • difficulty with speaking
  • double vision
  • inability to move the arms, legs, or facial muscles
  • inability to speak
  • itching skin
  • muscle jerking of the arms and legs
  • peeling and loosening of the skin
  • pinpoint red spots on the skin
  • red skin lesions, often with a purple center
  • red, irritated eyes
  • seizures
  • slow speech
  • sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • sudden loss of consciousness
  • unusual bleeding or bruising

Some side effects of thalidomide may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

Less common

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to thalidomide: oral capsule


In uncontrolled studies with HIV-seropositive patients, there were reports of adverse events (e.g., increased HIV viral load, decreased CD4 count, AIDS) that were not reported in other patient populations; consult the manufacturer product information.[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Hypocalcemia (95%), anorexia (28%), weight loss (23%), weight gain (22%)
Common (1% to 10%): Hypokalemia, hyperlipidemia
Rare (less than 0.1%): Increased appetite
Frequency not reported: Increased appetite, electrolyte abnormalities, hyperkalemia, hypocalcemia, hypoproteinemia, increased lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), decreased phosphorus
Postmarketing reports: Tumor lysis syndrome, hypercalcemia, hyponatremia, hypomagnesemia[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Fatigue (79%), edema (56%), peripheral edema (34%), asthenia (24%), pyrexia/fever (24%)
Common (1% to 10%): Accidental injury, chills, infection, pain, malaise, weakness, lethargy
Frequency not reported: Tinnitus, palpable spleen
Postmarketing reports: Sepsis, septic shock, hearing impairment/deafness, hangover effect[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Constipation (55%), nausea (28%), diarrhea (18.7%), dry mouth (12%), oral moniliasis (11.1%), dyspepsia (11%)
Common (1% to 10%): Abdominal pain, vomiting, flatulence
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Diverticular perforation, peritonitis
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Intestinal obstruction
Frequency not reported: Enlarged abdomen, eructation
Postmarketing reports: Gastrointestinal (GI) perforation, GI hemorrhage, pancreatitis, bile duct obstruction, stomach ulcer, aphthous stomatitis[Ref]

Nervous system

Very common (10% or more): Sensory neuropathy (54%), drowsiness/somnolence/sedation (37.5%), tremor (26%), dizziness/lightheadedness (23%), motor neuropathy (22%), headache (18.7%), depressed level of consciousness (16%), paresthesia (15.6%), sensory peripheral neuropathy (10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Cerebrovascular accident/event, syncope, vertigo, abnormal coordination, transient ischemic event, ataxia, amnesia, causalgia, circumoral paresthesia, hyperesthesia, dysesthesia
Frequency not reported: Neuritis, peripheral neuritis, neuralgia, hypertonia
Postmarketing reports: Seizures, convulsions, Parkinson's disease/worsening of Parkinson's disease symptoms, posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (PRES)/reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS), stupor, stroke, carpal tunnel, Raynaud's syndrome, migraine, foot drop[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Neutropenia (42.7%), decreased leukocytes (35%), decreased neutrophils (31%), leukopenia (25.8%), anemia (13.7%), lymphadenopathy (12.5%), lymphopenia (12.1%), thrombocytopenia (11.3%)
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Eosinophilia
Frequency not reported: Increased/decreased platelet count, decreased erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), granulocytopenia, hypochromic anemia, leukocytosis, elevated mean corpuscular volume (MCV), abnormal red blood cell (RBC) count
Postmarketing reports: Febrile neutropenia, pancytopenia, decreased white blood cell (WBC) count, prothrombin time changes, lymphedema[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Dyspnea (42%), pneumonia (15%)
Common (1% to 10%): Bronchopneumonia, pulmonary embolism, pharyngitis, sinusitis, interstitial lung disease
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Bronchitis
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Bronchospasm
Frequency not reported: Cough, emphysema, epistaxis, rales, upper respiratory infection, voice alteration[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Muscle weakness (40%), myalgia (17%), arthralgia (13%)
Common (1% to 10%): Muscle cramps
Frequency not reported: Upper extremity pain, arthritis, bone tenderness, joint disorder, leg cramps, myasthenia, periosteal disorder[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Rash/desquamation (30%), rash (25%), dry skin (21%), maculopapular rash (18.7%), sweating (12.5%), acne (11.1%)
Common (1% to 10%): Fungal dermatitis, nail disorder, pruritus, toxic skin eruption, urticaria
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Severe skin reactions (Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis), facial edema, photosensitivity, alopecia, eczematous rash, exfoliative dermatitis, ichthyosis, perifollicular thickening, skin necrosis, seborrhea, sweating, vesiculobullous rash
Postmarketing reports: Erythema multiforme, erythema nodosum, purpura, petechiae[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Confusion (28%), anxiety/agitation (26%), depression (10%)
Common (1% to 10%): Insomnia, nervousness, abnormal thinking, euphoria, impotence, altered mood/mood changes/mental status changes
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Decreased libido
Frequency not reported: Psychosis
Postmarketing reports: Sexual dysfunction, suicide attempts[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Thrombosis/embolism (22%), deep vein thrombosis (13%)
Common (1% to 10%): Atrial fibrillation, myocardial ischemia/infarction, bradycardia, cardiac failure, hypotension
Uncommon (0.1% to 1%): Orthostatic hypotension
Rare (less than 0.1%): Tachycardia, cardiac arrhythmia
Frequency not reported: Hypertension, peripheral vascular disorder, vasodilation, cyanosis
Postmarketing reports: Atrioventricular block, pulmonary hypertension, sick sinus syndrome, electrocardiogram (ECG) abnormalities[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Hyperglycemia (15%)
Very rare (less than 0.01%): Hypothyroidism, menstruation abnormalities, amenorrhea
Frequency not reported: Diabetes, inappropriate antidiuretic hormone (ADH)
Postmarketing reports: Myxedema, galactorrhea, gynecomastia[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Abnormal bilirubin level (14%), increased SGOT (12.5%)
Common (1% to 10%): Abnormal liver function tests
Frequency not reported: Enlarged liver, bilirubinemia, increased SGPT
Postmarketing reports: Increased alkaline phosphatase[Ref]


Very common (10% or more): Hematuria (11.1%)
Common (1% to 10%): Albuminuria
Frequency not reported: Hyperuricemia, proteinuria, pyuria, urinary frequency, orchitis
Postmarketing reports: Oliguria, enuresis, metrorrhagia[Ref]


Common (1% to 10%): Blurred vision
Frequency not reported: Amblyopia, dry eye, eye pain
Postmarketing reports: Diplopia, nystagmus[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Hypersensitivity/allergic reactions, angioedema[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Viral reactivation (herpes zoster, hepatitis B, cytomegalovirus), increased HIV viral load/RNA levels, amyloidosis
Postmarketing reports: Viral infections[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Acute myeloid leukemia, myelodysplastic syndromes
Postmarketing reports: Chronic myelogenous leukemia, nodular sclerosing Hodgkin's disease, erythroleukemia[Ref]


Frequency not reported: Increased BUN, increased creatinine
Postmarketing reports: Renal failure, acute renal failure[Ref]


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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.