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Arizona Zofran Cleft Palate Lawsuit

Cleft palate and cleft lip are birth defects that occur during fetal formation in the womb. Also known as orofacial clefts, these defects occur in the early stages of pregnancy. A baby may have either a cleft lip, cleft palate, or both. Studies reveal that women who were prescribed a nausea drug Zofran could put their newborn at high risk for this birth defect. An zofran birth defect attorney will specialize in an Arizona Zofran cleft palate lawsuit that your family should consider if your child suffers from this health condition.

During the early stages of pregnancy, the baby’s head and face begin to form. Body tissue and cells grow toward the center of the head and join together to create the face and its features. Usually, the palate of the mouth is fully formed by the tenth week of pregnancy. A cleft palate is when the two sides of the palate do not fuse together by the tenth week, and thus create an opening between the two sides, known as a cleft. The two sides are the back of the palate, which is the soft palate, and the front, which is the hard palate. When the sides do not join together, severity of the cleft can range from a slight opening in the soft palate to a complete separation between the soft and hard palate. 

Occurrence and Causes

According to the CDC, an estimated 2,650 babies are born with a cleft palate each year. Orofacial clefts that occur with no other birth defects are known as isolated orofacial clefts and are one of the most common types of birth defects in the United States. Typically, cleft palates are diagnosed by ultrasound or after birth. Occasionally, these defects may not be diagnosed until later on in the child’s life. Although the causes of cleft palate in infants are mostly unknown, it is thought it is a result of a genetic mutation in combination with other factors related to the mother. Recent research conducted by the CDC suggests that the following factors may increase a mother’s risk of giving birth to a child with a cleft palate: 

  • Smoking. Women who smoke during pregnancy run a higher risk of having a baby with a cleft palate, among other birth defects.
  • Diabetes. Women who have pre-diagnosed diabetes are more likely to have a child with a birth defect.
  • Medications. Certain medications have been linked to increased risk of birth defects, including epileptic medications and other medications taken during the first trimester of pregnancy.


Children in Arizona who are born with a cleft palate often face a variety of issues as they grow up, commonly with eating and speaking. They may develop further issues with their hearing since they are far more susceptible to ear infections. Services and treatments vary depending on the child’s age, severity of the cleft, and the presence of other birth defects and symptoms.

If surgery is needed, it is usually recommended within the first 18 months of the child’s life in Arizona. Surgery will primarily repair and improve the appearance of the child’s face and may also enhance breathing, hearing, and speech functions. Usually, multiple surgeries are necessary throughout the child’s life to fully repair the defect. Additional treatment and services in Arizona will most likely be needed, including dental care and speech therapy. Full-service organizations are available to coordinate treatments and services throughout the child’s life, often leading into adulthood. With coordinated treatment, most children with cleft palates have great outcomes and lead healthy, happy lives. However, the expenses of these surgeries might leave families struggling; if your child’s birth defect was caused by Zofran, pursue a Zofran cleft palate lawsuit in Arizona.

A Special Note on Zofran

The antiemetic drug Zofran, which was commonly prescribed to pregnant women in their first trimester, has been linked to orofacial defects and other birth defects including heart defects and spina bifida. If you were prescribed this drug during the early stages of your pregnancy and suffered from side effects or gave birth to a child with a cleft palate, contact a Zofran lawsuit attorney at the law offices of Knapp & Roberts for a free consultation. The firm has expert experience with Arizona Zofran cleft palate lawsuits and will be dedicated to helping you and your family. You may be entitled to compensation from the pharmaceutical manufacturer.

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If you or someone you know took Zofran while pregnant and their child suffered a birth defect, contact a zofran birth defects lawyer at Knapp & Roberts immediately for a free initial consultation. They work with clients who are faced with the devastating effects of personal injuries nationally.