Your Baby’s Health: Is it Worth the Risk?

A study published by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in December 2014 sheds a bright light on the risks pregnant women face if they choose to take the popular anti-nausea medication Zofran (ondansetron) to help ease their morning sickness symptoms. Dr. Gideon Koren, affiliated with The Motherisk Program, The Hospital for Sick Children, and the University of Toronto, Canada, found that the GlaxoSmithKline medication—which has not been FDA-approved for use by expectant mothers—carries an increased risk of heart defects to the fetus if exposed to the drug, especially during the first trimester of a woman’s pregnancy. In fact, a study out of Denmark comprised of 900,000 women found that Zofran (ondansetron) caused a 2-fold increased risk of malformations developing in the baby’s heart—which led to an overall 30% increase in major congenital fetal heart problems.   Out of the estimated 80% of pregnant women who suffer nausea and vomiting, Koren reported, roughly 1 million women are exposed to Zofran or its generic ondansetron every year—putting the lives of at least that many children at risk.

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