Patient Safety News: Zofran linked to congenital heart defect

The anti-nausea drug Zofran continues to be in the public spotlight because of claims that it can cause birth defects, including cleft lip and palate, if used by expecting mothers.

The controversy was the focus of a report this week by the Fox TV affiliate in Boston, where many Zofran lawsuits have been consolidated in federal court against drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline. Here’s an excerpt from the media coverage. You can also click here to view the whole story.

“Beth Botelho’s world was shattered just after she delivered her daughter Marissa. Doctors noticed the newborn had breathing problems, and then discovered a congenital heart defect.

“She needed open heart surgery. She was on life support. She was on a feeding tube. Initially, it was very overwhelming.”

Botelho blames the heart defect on a drug she took during pregnancy called Zofran. It is FDA approved to treat nausea in cancer patients, but it is sometimes prescribed off-label for morning sickness.”

Working in collaboration with other national law firms, Berman & Simmons is handling claims involving people who took Zofran and whose unborn children suffered injuries or birth defects.

Attorney Susan Faunce of Berman & Simmons said the birth defect complications associated with Zofran could be more widespread than initially thought. What started as a few cases has now grown to dozens of lawsuits from all around the country. There could be people in Maine who were harmed and are not aware of the litigation and their legal options.

“Beth Botelho lived through every parent’s worst nightmare, and unfortunately, she is far from alone,” Faunce said. “As a society, we can’t sit by and let this happen. When drugmakers like GlaxoSmithKline put the public at risk, we need to hold them accountable and provide fair compensation for those who were harmed.”