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Thalidomide Relieves Disabling Cough And Improves Quality Of Life For People With Deadly Lung Disease

Posted Sep 18 2012 4:59pm

In the first clinical trial to demonstrate an effective treatment for constant, disabling cough among people with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that taking thalidomide significantly reduced the cough and improved quality of life. Results of their study are published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on Sept. 18, 2012, in an article titled “Thalidomide for the Treatment of Cough in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.”

IPF is a progressive, fatal disorder that causes the lungs to become stiff and scarred, preventing oxygen from leaving the lungs to go to the rest of the body. The cause is unknown. Up to 80 percent of people with IPF have a dry, nagging cough, for which no effective treatment is available.

Thalidomide is a potent anti-inflammatory drug that was used to treat morning sickness and aid sleep in the 1950s. It was taken off the market in 1961 after it was shown to cause severe birth defects when women took the drug during pregnancy. Today, thalidomide is prescribed with strict controls to treat several diseases, including multiple myeloma and kidney cancer. It had not been studied for people with lung disease before.

 

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