Atlanta Injury Lawyers Discuss Zofran and Birth Defects
Zofran (Ondansetron) is a prescription drug prescribed often prescribed to pregnant women for nausea and vomiting, generally during the first trimester. Although Zofran has proven effective in reducing levels of nausea and vomiting, this effectiveness may come with serious side effects for infants, which pregnant women are rarely warned about.
How Zofran Works
In order to prevent nausea and vomiting, Zofran actually blocks the chemicals in the body responsible for experiencing these sensations. The drug can be taken in a disintegrating pill form or injections. Pregnant women are usually prescribed the oral tablet that can be taken in eight milligram doses up to twice a day.
Although the exact cause of nausea and vomiting in pregnant women remains undiscovered, it is generally thought that about half of all women will experience it. When home remedies fail to stop the nausea, Zofran is often prescribed.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings that the drug Zofran can lead to serious birth defects, yet many doctors across the country and abroad continue to prescribe the drug to pregnant women. Even worse, since most morning sickness is experienced in the first trimester, the drug is ingested during the most critical time of fetal development.
The FDA has noted the potential dangers of Zofran but has not stopped the drug from being prescribed. Doctors have a legal duty to warn pregnant women as to the risks associated with any drug before prescribing it. The risks of Zofran may largely lie in the fact that the drug was not created to treat nausea and vomiting in pregnant women; rather, it was made for chemotherapy patients. However, doctors can legally prescribe drugs for purposes not originally intended.
Birth Defects Linked to Zofran
The most common birth defects that have been associated with Zofran include:
- Heart defects
- Cleft lip and palate
- Musculoskeletal abnormalities
Due to the potential dangers associated with this drug, a number of research institutions have started investigating its link to birth defects. A study conducted by the Sloane Epidemiology Center in Boston, Massachusetts, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a two-fold increased risk of cleft palate for children born of those taking Zofran during pregnancy. The FDA has further issued a warning as to potential health issues with the pregnant women who take Zofran, including a potentially dangerous heart issue. With all of this alarming evidence, it is clear that more action must be taken to regulate and monitor the prescription of this drug.
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