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Zofran During Pregnancy

Nausea pregnancy and vomiting are two most common symptoms of pregnancy, but they are the most troubling ones too. Many women suffer from severe vomiting and morning sickness, often use Zofran or ondansetron to treat nausea. However, the drug is not approved to treat nausea in pregnant women and is claimed to cause severe birth defects.

Zofran has been under great discussion in recent years due to the controversial lawsuits and its negative impact on pregnant women’s health.Here we have discussed in detail that, “why Zofran should not be recommended to expecting mothers?”.

zofran for nausea during pregnancy
zofran for nausea during pregnancy

What is Zofran?

How safe is Zofran during pregnancy?

Why we use Zofran during pregnancy?

Does Zofran safe in pregnancy?

What is Zofran and is Zofran safe during pregnancy?

Zofran or ondansetron is a drug used to block chemicals responsible for nausea and vomiting. (Ondansetron is marked under the brand name of Zofran).

Zofran or ondansetron (its generic form) is a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist approved by the FDA recommended to patients suffering with nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, radiation treatment of surgery.

How Zofran works?

Zofran directly affects the serotonin levels in the brain and was originally approved in 1991. It generally blocks the chemicals in the body respond to nausea and vomiting condition. The drug can be taken orally and/or through injections.Everything you need to know about pregnancy women suffering with nausea are recommended oral dose of Zofran (typically starts around 8mg per tablet, once or twice a day).


Women are prescribed Zofran when home remedies such as crackers and toast fail in slowing down nausea.

Side effects of Zofran during pregnancy?

According to the U.S. Food Drug Administration (FDA), and American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology taking Zofran during pregnancy can lead to serious birth defects, yet many doctors in Canada, America and many others still frequently prescribe it.

According to several studies, most pregnant women suffer with nausea in first trimester (0 to 17 weeks) and many of them are prescribed Zofran in the most crucial development period without considering risks attached to it.

It’s important to know that Zofran isn’t designed specifically to treat nausea and vomiting – however, doctors are still legally allowed to prescribe the medication to everyone including pregnant women.

zofran side effects during pregnancy
zofran side effects during pregnancy

However, the drug is known to cause several birth defects in fetus as well as in pregnant mother, such as:

  • Mouth deformities
  • Jaundice
  • Musculoskeletal anomalies
  • Heart defects
  • Vision problems
  • Stomach problem
  • Club foot, webbed toes
  • Hearing loss
  • Cleft palate, cleft lip
  • Blood pressure abnormalities
  • Skull deformities

Other Side effects of Zofran:

Not only the infant suffers with serious side effects, but there are many mothers and families who came up with lawsuits and side effects complains, other side effects of Zofran include:

  • Itching, rashes and hives
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling
  • Constipation
  • Irregular heartbeat, Dizziness and fainting
  • Difficulties in swallowing
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Weakness

Does Zofran safe during pregnancy?

Because of several law suits, claims and studies done on Zofran and its side effects, it is important to realize its side effects and avoid taking Zofran, Ondansetron, zoplenz (similar drug) during pregnancy.It is recommended to use Zofran with care especially if you are pregnant. always ask your doctor about your concern.

zofran during pregnancy risks
zofran during pregnancy risks

Recent research on Zofran side effects during pregnancy:

There have been numerous studies done on Zofran’s side effects, for example, a study in 2011 conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) clearly stated that, “Zofran increases the risk of birth defects”.

Another study conducted by Danish Doctors stated after observing 900,000 pregnant women who took Zofran during pregnancy – there was a two-fold increase in infant heart defects.

Zofran Complaints and Lawsuits

Zofran is considered to be one of the most controversial drug of modern day, because of thousands of birth injury lawsuits filed against Zofran’s maker, GlaxoSmithKline.

Moreover, the lawsuits are not only filed by mother’s, but in 2012, the United States Department of justice filed a lawsuit against Glaxo, which ended in a $3 billion settlement. The case was filed after the company was engaged in promoting off-label use of Zofran and several other drugs.

zofran lawsuit

The last nail in the case is that Glaxo, however, did accept that Zofran for nausea and vomiting has not been tested. However, the drug is not restricted and still supplied as off-label drug all over Pakistan.

What are the alternatives to Zofran?

There are three other alternatives to Zofran available in market are:

Phenergen (promethazine):

This medicine is also used to treat and prevent vomiting and nausea caused by surgery, morning sickness or pregnancy. The medicine is cheap and available in most places, but it also has a side effect, it will make you sleepy. And it is prohibited to children under 2 and adults over 65.

Transderm- Scop (Scopolamine):

The drug can prevent nausea and vomiting, but it takes about 4 hours to work.

Compro (prochlorperazine):

This drug can be used to treat severe nausea and vomiting, but you have to take a nap for sure afterwards. The drug can be taken orally or rectally.

LiveHealthAlways conclusion:

It is true that when you get earliest possible signs of pregnancy then there are many cases that get settled down against Zofran makers with no clear decisions and no action is taken against its makers. But there are several studies that make Zofran a risk for the infant and the mother. It is better to use its alternatives, otherwise, try home remedies.

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