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Anti-nausea medicine sparks lawsuit from expectant mother

Many mothers are familiar with the so-called morning sickness associated with pregnancy. For many women, “morning sickness” is a misnomer, because the condition has been known to last all day. In Tennessee and across the country, many expectant mothers may look for remedies, whether it is from a natural source or from a prescription medication. As a string of recent lawsuits illustrates, some drugs intended to treat nausea can have devastating consequences for women who are pregnant.

Zofran is a drug that the Food and Drug Administration approved in 1991. According to a recent lawsuit, the medication is intended to treat severe nausea in patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation. However, physicians have been prescribing it “off-label” to pregnant women who are seeking relief from morning sickness.

One such mother, from Louisiana, reports that her son was born with several congenital heart and lung defects. The mother took Zofran during her first trimester and, according to the lawsuit, took it into her third trimester as well. The lawsuit notes that Zofran’s manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, knew of evidence linking the drug to birth defects as early as 1992.

GlaxoSmithKline pleaded to criminal charges and settled with the FDA in 2012 as a result of its off-label promotion. It also paid out roughly $1 billion in lawsuit settlements. The mother from Louisiana is seeking both compensatory and consequential damages for the losses she and her child have suffered. Anyone who has experienced adverse effects from Zofran or another drug should contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Source: Louisiana Record, “Mother takes Zofran maker to court,” Dan Harkins, July 20, 2015

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