According to an upcoming pediatrics journal, many women are still unaware of the risks of taking medication that can cause birth defects. The new study is among many being brought into the limelight after hundreds of Zofran lawsuits were filed after women who took the medication delivered infants with birth defects.
The new study, performed by researchers by researchers at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, the University of Colorado, and Northwestern University, studied 1,700 patients, between 14 years of age to 25 years of age. The study shows that between 2008-2012, these patients received more than 4,500 prescriptions for “teratogenic” medications. At least 70% of the patients had no idea that these medications could cause birth defects, and were not told the importance of using contraception or abstaining from sex while on the medications.
According to Stephani Stancil, the lead author of the study, as well as a nurse practitioner at the Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, Missouri,
“Seventy percent of teens prescribed these medications likely did not receive important information, leaving them at risk should they become pregnant. There is a huge opportunity for improvement. Many of the medications in our study are used to treat chronic conditions where a safer alternative may not be appropriate or feasible.”
What are Teratogenic Drugs?
Teratogenic drugs are medications that act as teratogens, meaning birth defects. Taking these medications while pregnant means that women are putting their babies at risk for developing birth defects, which can range from mild to severe. The following prescription medications have been proven to pose a heightened risk of infants developing birth defects:
- Valium, also known as diazepam
- Topamax, also known as topiramate
- Accutane and Claravis, also known as isotretinoin
- Trexall, also known as methotrexate
- Vasotec, also known as enalapril
- ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors
- Klonopin, also known as clonazepam
- Ativan, also known as lorazepam
- Xanax, also known as alprazolam
The study also researched the type of doctors who prescribed the above medication, and how many of them were likely to give women advice on the risk of birth defects. The study states that 47% of dermatologists told their patients about using birth control while on the medication, while only 28% of cancer physicians did. Only 17% of neurology physicians warned their patients about birth defects and the importance of using birth control.
Associate dean at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Laura Borgelt, stated that many of these doctors may have assumed that the patient’s primary physician should be the one to give the patient advice on birth control.
“The specialist might not be the one to prescribe the birth control pill, but it’s important to discuss what the concerns are and why being on a contraceptive is so important.”
Due to the high volume of Zofran lawsuits, teratogenic drugs are now being pushed more into the public’s eye, especially after the shocking study results that revealed an overwhelming amount of women are never warned about the risks of birth defects while taking the medications.
Zofran and Birth Defects
Studies have also confirmed that taking Zofran while pregnant heightens the chances of having a baby with birth defects. To make matters worse, Zofran was never approved for use by pregnant women, but physicians continue to prescribe the medication to pregnant women under off-label use for morning sickness. The anti-nausea medication is only approved for use by cancer and surgery patients.
After more than 60 Zofran lawsuits were filed, they were consolidated in the United States District Court for Massachusetts. Yet, even after consolidation, a plethora of Zofran lawsuits continued to pour in. It’s important to note that if you plan to file your own Zofran lawsuit, the consolidation in now way prevents you from doing so.
If your baby was injured due to taking Zofran while pregnant, you have the legal right to file for damages. You may be entitled to substantial compensation to cover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and much more.