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In addition to serious birth defects caused when taking Zofran, there are also serious side effects that can affect people taking Zofran.

What is Zofran? Why Are Pregnant Women Taking Zofran?

Manufactured by GlaxoKlineSmith, Zofran is a medication only available by prescription, approved for cancer patients who experience nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy treatment or other methods of treatment that cause nausea and/or vomiting.
pill side effects
GlaxoKlineSmith found a large market for Zofran in pregnant women experiencing morning sickness. As a result, the company began marketing the medication as off-label use for pregnant women battling with nausea and vomiting. GlaxoKlineSmith also reportedly started offering kickbacks to physicians who prescribed Zofran to pregnant women.

Unfortunately, not only has Zofran been linked to birth defects, but also serious side effects such as serotonin syndrome, QT Syndrome, and more.

Common Side Effects of Zofran

As with most medications, Zofran comes with common side effects. The following side effects are considered the less-serious symptoms of Zofran:

  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Fever

Serious Side Effects of Zofran

Unfortunately, taking Zofran while pregnant or even when not pregnant can lead to a serious, life-threatening illness.

Serotonin Syndrome

Serotonin is a naturally chemical in the body that helps brain cells effectively communicate with other cells in the body. However, if the body receives too much serotonin, it can lead to a potentially fatal disease known as serotonin syndrome.

Studies indicate that taking Zofran is associated with developing serotonin syndrome. It’s important to keep track of the symptoms and get medical help immediately if you have the following side effects after taking Zofran:

  • Abnormally high blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Fainting
  • Abnormal heartbeat

Other less-serious side effects of serotonin syndrome include:

  • Confusion and dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Goosebumps
  • Agitation and aggressiveness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Diagnosis of serotonin syndrome consists of a medical check-up, including a physical exam and your physician reviewing the medication you currently take. If serotonin syndrome is suspected, patients are normally checked into a hospital for medical observation.

If you’ve been taking Zofran, your doctor will more than likely immediately take you off of the medication.

Deadly Heart Problems Associated with Zofran

In 2011, the FDA issued a safety alert for Zofran, which stated that,

“Ondansetron may increase the risk of developing prolongation of the QT interval of the electrocardiogram, which can lead to an abnormal and potentially fatal heart rhythm, including Torsade de Pointes.”  


Reports indicate that taking a single dose of 32mg Zofran heightens the risk of patients developing fatal heart problems. In turn, GlaxoKlineSmith reduced the 32mg dosage to a maximum dose of 16mg per day, for a single dose.

Fortunately, only a few patients were administered 32mg pills before they were reduced. Yet, regardless of how small the numbers are, there are still a few people who are at a heightened risk of developing deadly heart problems.

“FDA continues to recommend the intravenous regimen of 0.15 mg/kg administered every 4 hours for three doses to prevent chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Oral dosing of Ondansetron remains effective for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. At this time, there is not enough information available for FDA to recommend an alternative single IV dose regimen.”


If you’ve been injured by Zofran, there is a chance that you may qualify for compensation for pain, suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and more. Prescription drug lawsuits are extremely intricate and involve a great deal of legal research and documents in order to prove your case. For more information on obtaining legal representation and determining if you qualify for a Zofran case, refer to our article Zofran Lawsuits.