Although research is currently limited, taking Zofran (also known as Zuplenz oe ondansetron) while pregnant may lead to infants developing cerebral palsy. If you’re pregnant and taking Zofran, it’s important to understand the risks involved to your unborn baby.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is defined a group of disorders that affects movements and muscles. Cerebral palsy affects babies and children in different ways, depending on the type of the disorder and the severity.
There are numerous different types of cerebral palsy, including:
- Spastic: The most commonly-diagnosed type of the disorder, marked by stiff movements and exaggerated reflexes
- Ataxic: Marked by exaggerated, involuntary muscle movements
- Dyskinetic: An infant/child with dyskinetic cerebral exhibits either slow and writing movements (athetoid) or a twisted posture with abnormal trunk movements (dystonic)
- Hypotonic: This type of cerebral palsy is marked by floppy, uncoordinated movements
- Mixed: A combination of two or more of the aforementioned types of cerebral palsy
Cerebral palsy is a permanent, lifelong disorder. However, the disorder will not progress over time, although other conditions caused by cerebral palsy may worsen. For instance, infants and children who have difficulties with eating and drinking may experience weight loss and dehydration over time, and may require feeding assistance.
Does Zofran Cause Cerebral Palsy?
There are numerous causes to cerebral palsy, such as genetic factors and maternal illness, but in some instances no cause is found at all.
In many cases, however, cerebral palsy surfaces after an infant develops brain damage. Recent studies indicate that Zofran may be associated with an increased risk of brain injuries if an infant is born with cranial defects. Although research is currently ongoing, there is a possibility that an infant’s exposure to Zofran while in utero can lead to birth defects that result in cerebral palsy.
Musculoskeletal birth defects are another risk associated with pregnant women taking Zofran. Children who develop cerebral palsy often also exhibit forms of musculoskeletal problems which can range from mild to severe.
Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy
As mentioned earlier, symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary greatly from one person to the next, depending on the type of cerebral palsy as well as the severity of the disorder. In most situations, children aren’t diagnosed with cerebral palsy until around two years of age, although diagnosis may still occur during infancy, and sometimes not until a child starts school. The most common symptoms that physicians look for when diagnosing the disorder, include:
- Stiff muscle tone, floppy muscle tone, or a variation of both
- Motor skills developmental delays
- Lack of muscle control
- Difficulties with speaking and eating
- Excessive drooling
- Difficulties holding things
- Spastic movements
Zofran is Not Approved For Pregnant Women
Despite the many prescriptions given to pregnant women across North America, Zofran, also known as Zuplenz, is not authorized for use by expectant mothers. Instead, physicians have been promoting the drug as off-label use for morning sickness. However, the FDA has only approved the medication for use by cancer patients undergoing treatments that cause nausea and vomiting.
In addition to increasing the risk of an infant developing cerebral palsy, Zofran has been linked to numerous birth defects, including:
- Cleft lip and cleft palate
- Webbed toes and hands
- Club foot
- Heart defects
- Cranial birth defects
- Neural tube defects
Assistance if Your Infant Was Born with Birth Defects
If you were prescribed Zofran while pregnant and your baby was born with birth defects, you may be eligible for compensation to help with medical bills, pain suffering, lost wages, and much more. Although Zofran lawsuits are still relatively new, there have been many recent cases filed against GlaxoKlineSmith, the manufacturers of the medication, that’s been accused of falsely promoting and marketing Zofran to pregnant women.
It’s important to retain legal representation that can assist you in determining if you have a valid case against GlaxoKlineSmith. For more information on the Zofran lawsuit process, refer to our article Zofran Article. For assistance on finding an experienced attorney, refer to our article, Zofran Lawyer.