Return to thalidomide (thing)
|Thalidomide is a chiral compound. Tests on mice indicated that one enantiomer is theraputic, the other teratogenic. Unfortunately, a process in the human body racemizes the compound, meaning that, even if you're given a pure dose of the ``safe'' version, you'll end up with the teratogen in your system. Further tests using rabbits showed that both forms of the compound had both effects--teratogenic and theraputic.|
In 1992 the FDA urged drug manufacturers to evaluate racemates and enantiomers for new drugs. Patent protection means that if one enantiomer is protected, another might not be, so companies will try to see if they can market a racemate or an enantiomer of an existing product.