Many women are being prescribed the common anti-nausea drug Zofran, to relieve the symptoms that come with morning sickness (hypermesis gravadarum). Zofran (ondesatron), however, was never approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in pregnant women. Manufactured to treat nausea in cancer patients, Zofran was illegally marketed for use in pregnant women by makers, GlaxoKlineSmith.
Studies say the use of Zofran in pregnant women increases the chances of the baby being born with congenital heart defects by 30 percent. The use of Zofran in pregnant women is also linked to an increased risk of physical deformities, such as cleft palate and cleft lip. Here are five common birth defects associated with Zofran:
1. Congenital Heart Defects
A congenital heart defect is a defect that was existing at birth. A CHD is typically a problem with the structure of the heart, including the walls and valves of the heart, and the arteries and veins of the heart.
Ventricular Septal Defect is a congenital heart defect where a hole is in the wall of the heart, separating the two lower chambers. If the hole is large, the heart can pump extra blood into the lungs, causing the lungs to become congested and force the heart and lungs work harder.
Atrial Septal Defect is a congenital heart defect where a hole is present between the two upper chambers of the heart. An ASD can cause damage to the heart and lungs. If undetected, an atrial septal defect can cause a shortened life span, due to heart failure or pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure that effects the arteries in the lungs).
4. Cleft Palate
A cleft palate occurs when the tissue that makes up the roof of the mouth does not form together during gestation, causing a hole in the roof of the mouth.
5. Cleft Lip
A cleft lip will occur if the lip tissue does not join completely before birth, creating an opening in the lip.
It is important to know about the risks prescription drugs could have on the fetus if taken during pregnancy. The risks could outweigh the benefits, which can prove fatal.