There's a lot of controversy surrounding the anti-nausea medication Zofran®, particularly when it's used by pregnant women. While there are many types of patients who shouldn't take Zofran, some patients who would otherwise benefit from the medication can suffer side effects due to the other medications they use. It's important to know about the foods, drugs, and conditions that can increase or decrease the effects of Zofran.
Drugs That May Interact with Zofran
To make it easier to avoid drug interactions, keep a running list of all of the medications you take, including vitamins and herbal supplements. Interactions may also be more likely depending on your age, weight, gender, and how much of the each medicine you take. Your doctor should review a complete list of your medications before prescribing any new drugs.
The following drugs have been known to interfere with Zofran and its generic form, ondansetron:
- Apomorphine. Apomorphine is commonly used to treat Parkinson’s disease and to stimulate vomiting. Taking apomorphine with Zofran can prevent necessary vomiting, and induce dizziness, severely low blood pressure, chest pain, and loss of consciousness.
- Serotonin modifiers. Patients who take antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are at increased risk of serotonin syndrome while taking Zofran. Zoloft® affects serotonin levels in the brain, which can cause problems if a patient is taking other medications that block serotonin, including Cymbalta®, Trazodone, or Zoloft. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome man include muscle aches, nervousness, increased heart rate, tremors, and mental dysfunction.
- Tramadol. Studies show that patients who take ondansetron are more likely to increase their doses of the pain-control medication tramadol. While there is no known interaction between these drugs, increased dosages of tramadol should be discussed with your doctor to prevent health problems.
- Phenytoin, Carbamazepine, and Rifampicin. These medications increase the production of a liver enzyme called CYP3A4, causing Zofran to be processed and expelled from the body much more quickly. Using these medications can decrease the effects of Zofran, and patient may need dosage adjustments to control nausea and vomiting.
Foods and Conditions That May Interact with Zofran
In addition to medications, certain foods and medical conditions man prevent Zofran from working and increase the risk of serious side effects. The most well-known dangers to patient health include:
- Grapefruit juice. Grapefruit juice often prevents the intestines from processing Zofran and SSRI medications, causing dangerous levels of serotonin that can result in serotonin syndrome.
- Irregular heartbeat. Patients taking ondansetron who have irregular heart rhythms are at increased risk of Torsade de pointes, a life-threatening condition that causes a rapid heart rate. Patients with heart arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, or a family history of long QT syndrome should not use ondansetron.
- Electrolyte imbalances. Abnormalities in electrolyte levels (such as hypokalemia or hypomagnesemia) and medications that can affect heart rhythms (such as Phenergan or albuterol) can also lead to Torsade de pointes.
- Liver disease. Since the active ingredient in Zofran is broken down by the liver, patients with impaired liver function may suffer effect due to their body’s inability to process the medication. Clinical trials in cancer patients found that some people with liver failure or liver dysfunction may suffer jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes. The manufacturer of the drug recommends that patients with liver conditions be limited to a maximum dosage of 8mg of Zofran per day.
We Can Help
If you or someone you love was injured as a result of taking Zofran during pregnancy, the McGartland Law Firm can fight on your behalf. Zofran was never approved for use by pregnant women, even though it's widely prescribed by doctors to treat severe morning sickness. Our legal team can gather evidence, investigate the circumstances of your injury, and fight aggressively for your rights after a dangerous drug caused harm. We don't collect any legal fees unless we win your case. Contact us today through our online form or by calling the number on this page to speak to an attorney.