Stephens, Trent Department of Biological Sciences, Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho.
- Problems with use
- Treating leprosy
- Other treatment uses
- Cause of birth defects
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
Thalidomide is the most infamous drug in the history of the world. It was formulated in the mid-1950s by Chemie Grünenthal, a West German cosmetic subsidiary, in search of new antibiotic drugs. Thalidomide had no antibiotic properties but, as no lethal dose could be found in rats, the company decided to test it in humans, where it was discovered to have a potent hypnotic effect. The drug was first marketed as a sleeping pill on October 1, 1957, under the trade name Contergan. Six months later Distillers Company Ltd. of Great Britain began to sell the drug under their trade name Distaval. The drug was marketed over the counter and was heavily advertised as the only completely safe sleeping pill. By summer 1960 thalidomide sales reached an all-time high, outselling the second-leading sleeping pill in Europe by 5:1.
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