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Thalidomide Newspaper Article

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Thalidomide Horrors

Thalidomide was developed in the 1950s by the West German pharmaceutical company Chemie Grünenthal GmbH to expand the company’s product range beyond antibiotics. It was an anti convulsive drug, but instead it made users sleepy and relaxed. It seemed a perfect example of newly fashionable tranquillisers. During patenting and testing, scientists realised it was practically impossible to achieve an LD50 level, or deadly overdose, of the drug. Animal tests did not include tests looking at the effects of the drug during pregnancy. The apparently harmless thalidomide was licensed in July 1956 for prescription-free over-the-counter sale in Germany and most European countries. The drug also reduced morning sickness, so it became popular with pregnant women, unfortunately, the effects only become somewhat apparent by 1960 when some patients had nerve damage in limbs after long term use, in 1961, the link between thalidomide and deformed limbs in babies became apparent...

The effects

External defects include: Shoulder: hypoplasia of shoulder muscles, scapula, clavicle. Arm: total absence, prominent acromioclavicular joint. Upper arm: reduction deformity of humerus (upper end).Elbow: humeroulnar, radioulnar fusion. Forearm: reduction deformities of radius > ulna. Hand: deformities usually related to those of forearm (preaxial emphasis, for example, radial club hand). Fingers: absence, hypoplasia, fixed flexion, syndactyly (preaxial emphasis).Thumb: absence, hypoplasia, triphalangy, non-opposable. Lower limbs Hip: congenital dislocation. Thigh: reduction deformity of femur (upper end).Knee: patellar dislocation. Lower leg: reduction deformity of tibia > fibula. Foot: deformities usually related to those of leg (for example, club foot).Toes: polydactyly, bifid toes (preaxial emphasis).Craniofacial Characteristic facies in some cases. Central facial naevus, fading over one to two years. Eyes: anophthalmia, microphthalmia, coloboma of iris/retina,...

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