An overwhelming majority of women experience morning sickness at some point during pregnancy. For some, the overwhelming waves of nausea can be addressed through a change in diet and other non-medical remedies. However, there are some women that suffer from more severe manifestations of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy that alternative solutions are not enough. For that, plenty of doctors have begun to prescribe these women to use Zofran—a drug that was first introduced in the early 90’s to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

While Zofran is clearly an effective way to eradicate the crippling symptoms brought about by morning sickness, it’s important to note that it is not without some side effects. Like other medications, the anti-nausea drug can cause a number of secondary effects that might range from discomfort to something that is more particularly alarming. Zofran is known to cause lightheadedness, headaches, drowsiness, fatigue, and constipation. In some cases, it has also been found to cause muscle spasms and problems with vision.

There are other concerns regarding Zofran and its use during pregnancy that are more alarming that these side effects. According to the website of Williams Kherkher, the use of Zofran to treat morning sickness can pose serious risk to unborn children. It seems that there have been a number of reported cases pointing out that Zofran can cause long-term health issues in infants. In particular, Zofran has been linked to cases of congenital heart defects and birth deformities such as cleft lip and palate. A study conducted by Canadian organization Motherisk examined the connection between Zofran use and congenital heart defects. It concluded that women should err on the side of extreme caution when considering the drug as a way to alleviate their morning sickness symptoms.

A similar assessment has been made by the Food and Drug Administration in a 2013 statement. In the report, the FDA emphasizes that while no categorical conclusion can be made regarding the safety of Zofran use during pregnancy, the public should keep in mind that concerns have been raised by some members of the medical community. They urge the public to communicate with their health care providers regarding any concerns with the safety of Zofran.