Musculoskeletal Abnormalities

Zofran Use May Result in Musculoskeletal Abnormalities

You may recognize the name “Zofran.” It is the brand name of a powerful anti-nausea drug called ondansetron. This drug is typically prescribed to patients after surgery or cancer patients attempting to cope with the side effects of chemotherapy. It is also used by some pregnant women to help treat severe nausea that is associated with morning sickness. This “off-label” use of Zofran (that is, use by individuals to treat conditions the manufacturer did not originally intend for the drug to treat) by pregnant women may lead to catastrophic results. Of course, according to the manufacturer, there have been no well-researched studies that examined the effects of off-label use of Zofran. In some cases, however, taking Zofran off-label can result in a baby being born with musculoskeletal abnormality. The Food and Drug Administration specifically discourages pregnant women from taking Zofran.

What are Musculoskeletal Abnormalities?

The term “musculoskeletal abnormality” is actually a rather expansive term and describes any sort of birth defect that affects either the baby’s muscular system or its skeletal system. A musculoskeletal abnormality can affect the baby’s arms and legs, its face, its spine, or its trunk. Depending on the severity of the condition, a baby born with a musculoskeletal abnormality may be able to live a life free from complications. In other cases, however, the abnormality may cause significant pain and/or difficulties for the baby throughout life. While some abnormalities might be able to be corrected through surgery, others may be permanent.

Is There Evidence that Zofran Results in Musculoskeletal Abnormalities?

A 2014 news report by the Toronto Star found several Canadian cases from 2012 in which the mother of a baby took Zofran off-label and thereafter the baby suffered negative consequences. In one case, a baby was born with what was described as a “musculoskeletal anomaly.” In another case, the mother’s off-label use of Zofran was thought to be the cause of her baby’s mouth deformity, jaundice, heart murmur, and atrial septal defect.

I’m Pregnant. Why Would a Doctor Prescribe Me Something that is Unsafe or Not Meant for Me?

The prescription of certain drugs off-label – or the use of certain drugs off-label – is not as uncommon as some might think. In fact, according to Consumer Reports, about 20% – one out of every five – prescriptions are written for a non-approved use. While the practice is legal and occurs frequently, it does present a certain amount of risk to the patient. Considering that morning sickness is a frequent condition in the first and second trimesters of a pregnancy and that a fetus is most vulnerable during this time, taking Zofran off-label presents a greater risk for the development of birth defects than other off-label uses of the drug.

Contact Us For Assistance

If you or someone you love took Zofran while pregnant and her baby was born with birth defects such as musculoskeletal abnormalities, compensation may be available. We have helped numerous people in similar situations and can help you or your loved one recover the compensation and damages you deserve. Call us today at 1-800-883-9858 to discuss your case today.