Anti-nausea Drug Zofran and Birth Defects

Noble McIntyre on February 24, 2015


Pregnancy Photo Source

If you’re like many women, you might think of early pregnancy as being associated with the discomfort of nausea. Some expectant moms experience mild nausea for a few weeks and it goes away, but others experience severe nausea that can continue throughout the pregnancy. Nausea is common in pregnancy, and even women who experience severe nausea go on to have successful pregnancies and healthy babies. However, some physicians will prescribe drugs to some pregnant women in order to ease the discomfort of severe nausea.

One drug that has been prescribed in recent years for pregnant women is Zofran (generic name: Ondansetron). Although Zofran has been used for many years in the treatment of nausea related to chemotherapy and post-operative nausea and vomiting, its use for pregnant women is more recent. However, several reports are now indicating that Zofran might cause severe birth defects in babies born to mothers who took the drug during pregnancy.

Birth Defects and Zofran

Birth defects from Zofran can include:

  • Musculoskeletal anomalies
  • Mouth deformities like a cleft palate or cleft lip
  • Jaundice
  • Heart defects

There have also been reports that pregnant women, themselves, have experienced adverse effects while taking Zofran. These Zofran side-effects include:

  • Rashes, hives, itching
  • Shortness of breath
  • Body swelling
  • Constipation
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

While studies have been inconclusive with respect to the effects of Zofran on pregnancy and unborn babies, not enough studies have taken place. A physician representative from Motherisk, a Canadian organization that assists pregnant women, has said this:

“Here is a drug not meant for pregnancy, given in pregnancy, with no data. So how do you know it’s safe for a baby? It’s an extrapolation that doctors do.”

Some documented cases of babies born with defects after the mother took Zofran during pregnancy include:

  • Two fetal deaths
  • Six infants with fetal growth restriction (or IUGR), which means that there was very poor growth in the womb; several of these babies were only four pounds at birth
  • One baby with musculoskeletal abnormality
  • Heart defects and malformed kidneys in several infants
  • One baby with mouth deformity, jaundice, heart murmur, heart defects and a hole in the heart

Zofran lawsuits

As more and more cases are reported of moms who believe that their babies’ birth defects could have been caused by the Zofran they took during pregnancy, lawsuits are taking shape. The allegation is that the drug manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) fraudulently promoted the drug to physicians and consumers as acceptable for treatment of pregnancy-related nausea, when in fact it had never been shown to be safe in pregnancy.

If you’re pregnant and taking Zofran, call your physician immediately. Your provider might not be aware that the drug is suspected of causing birth defects. As well, if your child was born with birth defects and you took Zofran during pregnancy, call us today. Our team of Zofran lawyers can help you and your family get the compensation you deserve.


Noble McIntyre

Noble McIntyre is the senior partner and owner of McIntyre Law who focuses primarily on drug litigation and catastrophic injury cases. He is currently representing clients injured by the drugs Paxil, Levaquin and testosterone therapy drugs and by clients affected by oil field injuries. His goal has and continues to be to work diligently on behalf of his clients to achieve the highest and best result for his clients’ injuries while maintaining professionalism and abiding by all ethical standards of his profession. Read more about Noble McIntyre.


6 responses to “Anti-nausea Drug Zofran and Birth Defects”

  • Matthew Jeffers
    February 27, 2015

    My son was born with bilateral club feet not just one but both we're upside down and my wife was peracribed zofran during the whole pregnancy they even administerd it intravaniously twice

    Reply to Matthew Jeffers's comment.

  • Christy Deaton
    February 27, 2015

    Hi, I am a mother 3 children. My husband and I had our last child on March 14, 2013. Throughout my whole pregnancy I took Zofran for nausea. Then two months into my pregnancy I had to go to a heart doctor and have test ran on me. I then had to start taking Inderal La due to rapid heart beat and tachycardia. I had to continue taking both medications during my whole pregnancy. My son was born on his regular time not early, but we did have complication. I was given a spinal tube not a shot during my C-section. When he was born he was unable to breath well. I got to breast feed him in the nursery for three weeks. He was unable to come out until the day we took him home. The doctors couldn't find out what was wrong with him. His pediatrician did two spinal taps on home and ran multiple test and still couldn't figure out why he had apnea. My son had to be hooked up to a monitoring machine for more than two weeks until he one day just stopped having apnea. He is a perfectly fine healthy baby boy now, but we were so worried the whole time he was in there that I only left one day for a few hours to drive home and get more clothes. I must say to this day his pediatrician, father, and I have no idea what caused his apnea. Now that I have heard about zofran maybe it could have been the cause. If you would like to get ahold of me that is fine but do leave a message if I do not answer. Thank you so very much.

    Reply to Christy Deaton's comment.

  • Angie Perkins
    March 8, 2015

    I had taken Zofran while pregnant with my daughter, who is now 4. She was hospitalized when she was 4 months old diagnosed with dystonia and elevated liver enzymes. She still has some elevation in Liver enzymes but the dystonia resolved after a few years. We spent tons of money and never got any answers. Maybe it was me taking zofran ?

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  • Crystal Mills
    March 8, 2015

    I would like more information about this please. I suffered from a miscarriage this past September at 5 months pregnant and was prescribed Zofran. Thank you!

    Reply to Crystal Mills's comment.

  • Shawna Kurutz
    March 26, 2015

    I was given zofran a little over a year ago for nausea because i had hypermythesis. i was 5 weeks i believe when i was given it. At 9 weeks i was then told at the emergency room i was having a miscarriage, which confused me because i have a 3 year old as of march 30, that was a normal pregnancy i even went over my due date with him NO complications. but in the end i didnt have a miscarriage. at 12 weeks i had vaginal bleeding that they couldnt discover what it was from. i was hospitalized 3 times but the 3rd time i unadmitted myself against my doctors wishes and went to toledo hospital. at toledo i was told my daughter had major heart problems and told that she had down syndrome and asked if i wanted to terminate my pregnancy but i told the doctor no as i have a uncle with spine abifida so a child with a disability wouldnt bother me to have. i made a appointment with a new doctor in toledo that was high risk. January 7, 2014 i started having labor pains which i didnt no i was in active labor and i had no idea what contractions felt like because i didnt have any with my son. on January 9,2014 i had gotten sick of having the pains and went to toledo hospital, they told me that i needed to have a emergency c section and that if i waited another hour i wouldve had her at home. i was only 26 weeks and i gave birth to a 1 pound 5 1/2 ounce baby girl. I named her Myrakl. i sat at the hospital day in and day out with being told she had a 2% chance of living. As soon as she was off life support and breathing on her own she was going to have to have her first heart surgery. on her 6th day of living, the doctors called me and said i must come to the hospital. i only left to sleep a little bit. i went to the hospital and waited a couple hours and my parents finially came back to get me from her room. They said the doctor said i needed to take her off of life support, that her kidneys were no longer functioning and her heart was giving up. i made the choice to take her off because i didnt want to see my baby in pain. but i waited till my son who was 1 almost 2 to be there to meet his sister for the first time. he loved her, i dont have one picture that he isnt in. i took her off life supoort while letting my whole family hold her. i live everyday thinking i dont know whether it was my fualt or not. but she had every symptom possible that they say zofran causes. she was my first daughter, and at 19 i had to take her off life support without knowing her eye color, or hear what her cry sounded like. i live in my own hell everyday because of this.

    Reply to Shawna Kurutz's comment.

  • Tesla Cooper
    April 5, 2016

    I was perscibed zofran almost my whole pregnancy my baby was breach so I had no choose to get a sea section I told my dr a million times about being our of breath dizzy and my heart rate would randomly beat really fast they sent me for to get my heart beat monitored but at the time it was normal so I was told it was normal during pregnancy but I still don't think it was ?

    Reply to Tesla Cooper's comment.


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