The History of Zofran

By on 3-10-2015 in Dangerous Medicine

Zofran, or ondansetron as it is sometimes known, was initially created in the 1980s in England. It is a serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonist used to prevent nausea, which essentially means that it blocks the chemicals that are responsible for nausea and vomiting. The FDA didn’t approve Zofran for use in the US until early 1991. It was only approved for the use by cancer patients undergoing therapy and patients that are recovering from surgery.

Zofran worked extremely well for cancer patients and those recovering from surgery. It quickly became popular with doctors and at one point was ranked as the 20th highest selling brand name drug in the US. As its popularity grew, doctors began prescribing it off-label to expectant mothers with violent morning sickness that was not responding to other treatments. When a doctor prescribes an off-label drug, the doctor is giving it for a reason that it has not yet been approved for. Zofran had not been approved for use by expectant mothers.

While it had not been approved, in the past there had been testing in animals, mostly rabbits and rats, to see if its use affected unborn babies. These test showed no negative effects on the babies born. However, studies done with humans have been inconclusive. Some show no negative effects while others show a minor to significant increase in certain birth defects. The defects vary but most commonly are the development of a cleft lip, cleft palate, or heart defects.

The makers of Zofran never petitioned for the approval of the drug for expectant mothers. In fact, they have since issued a warning against its use by expectant mothers and the makers of Zofran have had to pay $2 billion dollars in penalty for marketing the drug as safe for expectant mothers without approval. Lawyers are beginning to collect cases of fetal birth defects caused by the drug, and if even one Zofran lawyer begins winning cases the popularity of the drug will begin to decline.

Stages of Melanoma

By on 3-10-2015 in Dangerous Medicine

Melanoma is a skin caner that is developed by a tumor of melanin-forming cells. Like other types of cancer, its consists of various stages. The stage of melanoma is determined by the tumor’s thickness, if it’s ulcerated, if it has spread to lymphnodes, if those lymph nodes are matted, and if the tumor has metastasized. There are fives stages, 0-4, increasing in cancer level. The website of Williams Kherkher notes the difficulty of experiencing this type of cancer, especially when it may be caused by a pharmaceutical product.  and the importance of trying to control it.

Stage zero is the best prognosis to receive for a melanoma patient. This is when unusual melanocytes are evident in the epidermis. Melanocytes are cells that contain melannin pigment, and discovery of them is the first step of discovering melanoma.

There are two divisions of stage one. Stage IA is when the tumor is less than one millimeter thick, and the skin is not broken (no ulceration). Stage 1B presents an ulceration in the skin, while the tumor is still less than one millimeter. Or, conditions of stage 1B can also present no ulceration, yet the tumor is between one and two millimeters.

Stage three has three subdivisions: IIA, IIB, and IIC. Overall, this stage is when cancer has spread to the lymph nodes (matted or not), the cancer is in a lymph vessel between the original tumor source and surrounding lymph nodes, or if the cancer is two centimeters away from the original tumor.

Stage four is the last stage of melanoma. Once the cancer has spread to the lungs, brain, intestines, bones, or soft tissue, it has reached this point. This can mean the cancer is anywhere in the body, as it has spread through the blood vessels and lymph nodes.

Melanoma is a serious cancer. It is best when detected early, and undergoing a series of tests will help achieve that.