tha·​lid·​o·​mide | \ thə-ˈli-də-ˌmīd How to pronounce thalidomide (audio) , -məd \

Definition of thalidomide

: a drug C13H10N2O4 that was formerly used as a sedative and is now used as an immunomodulatory agent especially in the treatment of leprosy and multiple myeloma and that is known to cause malformations of infants born to mothers using it during pregnancy

Examples of thalidomide in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Within two years, reports surfaced that thalidomide caused horrific birth defects. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 10 Feb. 2022 Although not a vaccine, in the 1950s a drug called thalidomide was prescribed for early-pregnancy nausea. Suzi Ring,, 23 Dec. 2021 In the late 1950s, doctors began prescribing a new drug named thalidomide to pregnant women in Europe and North America, to ease their morning sickness. Samanth Subramanian, Quartz, 6 Oct. 2021 Among the key problems with thalidomide was the way it was manufactured. Samanth Subramanian, Quartz, 6 Oct. 2021 Although it was not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, thalidomide was given to Americans in trials. Brittany Shammas, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Oct. 2021 But the thalidomide episode, combined with the incentives government regulators face, has cemented a culture of risk-aversion in the FDA. Fortune, 26 Feb. 2021 The experience of children who were born with severe disabilities from thalidomide in the 1950s and ’60s, like that of the victims of sulfanilamide poisoning in the ’30s, prompted significant strengthening of government oversight. Benjamin Mazer, The Atlantic, 13 July 2021 Debilitating birth defects resulting from thalidomide arose in Europe and elsewhere in 1961. C. Michael White, The Conversation, 13 May 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thalidomide.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of thalidomide

1958, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for thalidomide

phthalic acid + -id- (from imide) + -o- + imide

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The first known use of thalidomide was in 1958

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Cite this Entry

“Thalidomide.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for thalidomide


tha·​lid·​o·​mide | \ thə-ˈlid-ə-ˌmīd How to pronounce thalidomide (audio) , -məd How to pronounce thalidomide (audio) \

Medical Definition of thalidomide

: a sedative, hypnotic, and antiemetic drug C13H10N2O4 that was formerly used chiefly in Europe during the late 1950s and early 1960s especially to treat morning sickness but was soon withdrawn after being shown to cause serious malformations (as missing or severely shortened arms and legs) in infants born to mothers using it during the first trimester of pregnancy and that is now used as an immunomodulatory agent chiefly in the treatment of cutaneous complications of leprosy and in combination with dexamethasone in the treatment of multiple myeloma

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