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From Anger to Guilt, Mother Suffers from Zofran Mixed Emotions

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Grovetown, GA“My doctor prescribed Zofran to help treat my nausea in 2009,” says Crystal. “I didn’t throw up during my entire pregnancy but not a day goes by when I’m not sickened by what I did.” Like so many women, Crystal trusts her doctor and she took Zofran, no questions asked.

“I keep asking myself if our middle son would be normal if I didn’t take this drug,” Crystal says, crying. “Thank god my other two children are fine and that is another reason why I blame Zofran: I didn’t take it when I was pregnant with them.”

Crystal’s son, let’s call him Sam, has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder including Asperger’s Syndrome. “We enrolled him in a special education program about two years ago and it is just about the only place he goes outside of home,” says Crystal. “He has uncontrollable tics and obsessions so we can rarely take him out in public.”

When Crystal has included Sam in activities outside the house with the rest of the family, she says he has “full-blown melt-downs” with uncontrollable screaming and stomping. “OMG it is awful,” she adds. “He takes up so much energy and even with my husband deciding to be a stay-at-home dad, he is such a struggle.”

The special ed program does help Sam adapt and, according to Crystal, his teacher is terrific. “Luckily Sam is enrolled in a public school so all Crystal has to pay (from her paycheck as a cashier at McDonald’s) is transportation. Thankfully she will get some further help with the State of California now that the Paid Sick Leave law came into effect July 2015.

“There is no autism on either side of our family, it came from out of nowhere,” she says. “I don’t remember when exactly I thought that Zofran could be linked to autism - I must have read it online or saw an ad on TV. If my son’s autism could have been avoided, if I chose to deal with nausea instead - if I really knew I would be so angry. I'm already dealing with guilt.”

Asked about Sam’s future, Crystal is certain that he will live with her for the rest of his live - his autism is so severe. “He can’t retain information - he will pick up that ball 20 times and he doesn’t understand,” she explains. “He is not being defiant. You can see sheer confusion on his face. He doesn’t know how to process the information but he is really trying to understand. It is heartbreaking.”

Ondansetron, which is marketed as Zofran, belongs to the class of serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and works like an antidepressant. A Swedish study found that the use of antidepressants during pregnancy increases the risk of autism spectrum disorders in children, according to the New York Times.


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