But, and this is very unfortunate, that does not mean that taking Zofran does not have associated risks of serious birth defects. Moreover, just as there are mothers who took Zofran during their pregnancies and suffered no health repercussions to their babies, there are mothers who took Zofran during their pregnancies and had babies with serious birth defects. Some of the issues are so severe that expensive surgeries and therapies are required.
Whether or not a developing baby is affected by a mother ingesting Zofran has a lot to do with the timing of when Zofran is used during pregnancy compared to the development of the heart, when and if serotonin reception at the 5 hydroxytryptamine receptor type 3 (5-HTC3) is influenced in the developing fetus, neural crest development, and a variety of other factors.
What’s worse, Zofran was not studied in terms of its safety for pregnant women. Instead, this popular drug was and is heavily marketed to doctors and patients even though there are studies that may show its associated dangers — and even though there are mothers and families speaking up by sharing their stories.
The thing about associated risks is that they don’t happen to everyone. It’s kind of like that friend who bounced back from her pregnancy weight no problem — all while eating whatever she wanted. That doesn’t mean it happens to everyone, and for the “bounce back mom,” it probably had to do with lots of luck. The same is true with Zofran and other drugs. Just because one mom had no issues does not mean that all moms are safe. Even more, it does not mean that the drug manufacturers were as safety-conscious as they should have been when studying and, ultimately, marketing Zofran.
What we believe is absolutely unacceptable is for a pharmaceutical company to heavily promote an extremely popular drug to pregnant women — one of the most susceptible patient groups to adverse drug reactions —when that drug may not have been sufficiently tested or proven safe for mothers and their babies. And we believe that whenever there is an associated health risk like heart defects or cleft palate – well, the drug companies should clearly warn about these risks, allowing patients to make informed choices about whether the risk outweighs the benefit.
We also know that both the worlds of medicine and pregnancies are complicated and for some women, taking Zofran was a lifesaver that helped save them from repeat trips to the ER for dehydration or near-constant, debilitating nausea. Again, that’s fantastic. But that may not be true for all women. Many women who have contacted us about filing a potential Zofran lawsuit took the drug for less threatening nausea and wish they had understood the risks.
We appreciate all of the moms who have contacted us with their stories and are sharing them on Facebook. But we want to remind you: There is no mom blaming here!
It’s time to hold the manufacturer of Zofran accountable.