1958, from "phthalimidoglutarimide," based on abbreviated form of naphthalene; a morning-sickness drug responsible for severe birth defects in Europe from 1956 to 1961, when it was withdrawn. It never was approved for use in America thanks to the efforts of Dr. Helen Brooke Taussig (1898-1986). Thalidomide baby is attested from 1962.
thalidomide tha·lid·o·mide (thə-lĭd'ə-mīd')
A sedative and hypnotic drug that was withdrawn from sale after it was found to cause severe birth defects when taken during pregnancy.
A sedative drug that was developed and used in Europe in the 1960s. Thalidomide was taken off the market when it became evident that it caused severe birth defects in babies born to women who had used the drug during pregnancy.
Note: References to thalidomide are often made when illustrating the dangers of using drugs whose side effects are not well known.