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Arizona Zofran Spina Bifida Lawsuit

Spina Bifida is a neural tube defect that usually occurs within the first month of pregnancy. It occurs anywhere along the spine where the neural tube does not completely close. When the backbone, responsible for protecting the spinal cord, does not close completely, the underlying neural tube is exposed. Often, this results in spinal cord and nerve damage. Spina bifida usually leads to physical and cognitive disabilities, ranging from mild to severe depending on the size and location of the opening and whether the spinal cord or nerves are affected. While causes for spina bifida can be hereditary, environmental, or a combination of both, studies found that Zofran, a prescription medication, could be linked to this birth defect. If you were taking this while pregnant, you could have a case for an Arizona zofran spina bifida lawsuit. If you are faced with this, you need to speak to an expert in the field. An Arizona zofran lawsuit attorney can help prove that you were not warned about the the risks associated with the drug.

Spina Bifida Classifications

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) breaks down spina bifida in three main types:

  • Myelomeningocele. The most common and most severe form of spina bifida is Myelomeningocele. In this type of spina bifida, there is a distinct protrusion of a fluid filled sac on the baby’s back. The sac usually contains part of the spinal cord and nerves, which are damaged. Myelomeningocele results in moderate to severe disabilities and may affect how the child uses the bathroom, cause loss of feeling in the legs and feet, and lead to paralysis in the legs.
  • Meningocele. Another type of spina bifida, meningocele is evident because of a protrusion of a fluid filled sac on the child’s back. In this type, however, the sac does not contain parts of the spinal cord, and nerve damage may be minimal. Meningocele may cause minor disabilities.
  • Spina Bifida Occulta. The mildest form of spina bifida, this type is also called “hidden” spina bifida. While there is still a gap in the spine, there is no opening or presence of a sac on the back. Usually, the spinal cord and nerves are unaffected. This type of spina bifida is usually not discovered until late in childhood or even adulthood, and usually does not cause any disabilities.

Diagnosis of Spina Bifida

In Arizona, spina bifida is usually diagnosed either during pregnancy or after birth. During pregnancy, diagnostic tests, such as alpha-fetoprotein screens, ultrasounds, and amniocentesis, may detect spina bifida. Other times, the defect will be apparent after the baby is born. It may manifest as a hairy patch or dimple on the back. Treatment for the defect will vary depending on the child’s needs. More serious forms of spina bifida will call for surgeries (possibly long-term), while milder forms may only require physical therapy or specialty services in Arizona.

Causes and Treatments in Arizona

Though exact causes remain unknown, it is thought that spina bifida occurs due to a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Because spina bifida forms within the first few weeks of pregnancy, it is imperative that pregnant women take preventative measures early on. Taking folic acid may reduce the risk of spina bifida. Factors that increase the risk of spina bifida include:

  • A previous pregnancy that was affected by Neural Tube Defects
  • Insulin dependent diabetes in the mother
  • Certain anti-seizure and other medication, especially in early pregnancy
  • Medically diagnosed obesity
  • High temperatures in early stages of pregnancy, such as prolonged fevers or hot tub use.

Mild forms of spina bifida require less treatment and therefore have a better prognosis. More severe forms of spina bifida often require surgery and ongoing treatment. In fact, up to 90% of children with severe forms of spina bifida will require a shunt, which stays in place for life and drains fluid from the brain.

Zofran and Spina Bifida

While ongoing research is still needed, some medications have been linked to a higher risk of Neural Tube Defects. Anti-seizure medications used to treat epilepsy, such as valpraote and carbamazepine, are among these risk factors. A study conducted in 2013 found that Zofran, an anti-nausea medication, could increase the risk of birth defects, specifically spina bifida. Other birth defects that have been linked to Zofran include: cleft lip, cleft palate, and heart defects.

If you were taking Zofran, or any other prescription medication during the early stages of pregnancy and gave birth to a child with birth defects, contact the law offices of Knapp & Roberts today. A Zofran lawsuit attorney at the firm has the expertise to prove negligence and collect documentation on the birth defect to get your family the highest compensation possible.


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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.