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Thalidomide treats Crohn’s disease

Study of children with the inflammatory bowel disorder raises possibility of new use for tainted drug

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4:13pm, November 26, 2013

The ongoing repurposing of the infamous drug thalidomide may include treatment of Crohn’s disease, an incurable bowel condition. Thalidomide was banned or never approved in many countries because it caused thousands of severe birth defects when pregnant women took it in the late 1950s and early 1960s. But researchers have now shown it can knock out symptoms in pediatric Crohn’s patients, sending the disease into remission in most cases.

Crohn’s is an inflammatory bowel disease marked by diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss and vomiting. One-fourth of cases show up in childhood. Crohn’s affects roughly 500,000 people in the United States and 1.2 million in Europe.

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