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March 1984

Thalidomide Neurotoxicity

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Dermatology (Drs Clemmensen and Andersen) and Clinical Neurophysiology (Dr Olsen), Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen.

Arch Dermatol. 1984;120(3):338-341. doi:10.1001/archderm.1984.01650390060012

• Of six patients treated with thalidomide for either prurigo nodularis or discoid lupus erythematosus, four had paresthesias in the hands and feet and one also complained of muscular pain and stiffness. Clinical neurological findings in all four patients were normal. Subsequent electrophysiological examination disclosed a peripheral neuropathy in five of the six patients; two had electrophysiological signs of a polyneuropathy and three of a carpal tunnel syndrome. Symptoms and abnormal electrophysiological findings were still present in one patient one year after the discontinuation of thalidomide therapy. Since reports on thalidomide neurotoxicity have shown that the neurological symptoms are long standing and possibly irreversible, it is obviously important to inform patients of this possible side effect and to evaluate them closely for the symptoms and electrophysiological signs of evolving neurological changes.

(Arch Dermatol 1984;120:338-341)