Most people want to believe that prescription medications are safe for use as recommended by doctors. However, even when most people take a drug without any serious issues, other people can have reactions. These could range from allergies to death in severe cases. Some drugs can also cause birth defects if taken during pregnancy. That’s why drugs administered to pregnant women undergo much more scrutiny than other medications.
Zofran is a drug that many doctors choose to prescribe to people who suffer with chronic nausea or vomiting. That can include morning sickness during pregnancy. It’s important to understand that like most drugs, Zofran carries a risk of side effects and unintended consequences for its users.
Zofran is a drug with problematic side effects
Zofran, the brand name of the drug also called Ondansetron Hcl helps to control nausea and vomiting. Many times, it is used for people receiving cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Doctors also prescribe it to pregnant women who have extreme or debilitating morning sickness. The mechanism of the drug involves blocking serotonin, which can cause vomiting. Doctors will look at your liver health and weight when deciding how much of the drug you should take.
While Zofran can offer relief to some patients who can’t eat or struggle with chronic nausea, it can also create severe side effects. These side effects include:
- stomach pain
- muscle spasms
- muscle stiffness
- blurry vision
- chest pain
- irregular heartbeat
These side effects could be a warning of a severe reaction or intolerance to the drug. People suffering them should advise their doctor as soon as possible. In some cases, however, the side effects may surface after the drug has already caused damage to the body.
Zofran can cause damage to many organs including the heart or liver. Those with pre-existing conditions may be at higher risk for severe reactions to this drug. It can also pose some additional risks during pregnancy, meaning that it should only be taken when absolutely needed.
Zofran isn’t actually approved for pregnant women
While many doctors rely on this medication to help women with hyperemesis grandivarum (intense sickness and dangerous vomiting) during pregnancy, Zofran isn’t actually approved for use during pregnancy. There simply isn’t enough research to ensure the safety of the developing fetus when taking the drug.
One condition linked to Zofran is Serotonin Syndrome, which causes increased nerve cell activity in the brain. It is possible that this drug could impact the serotonin levels and brain development of the infant, as well as the mother, if taken during pregnancy. If you’ve given birth to a child with a potential birth injury and took Zofran while pregnant, you may need to consider your options and inform yourself about your rights as a parent and a patient.