Side Effects of Anti-Nausea Drug Zofran

The drug Zofran® , also known as Ondansetron, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat nausea and vomiting resulting from chemotherapy treatment for cancer and after being administered anesthetic during surgery. The medication works by blocking serotonin, a natural substance in the human body, which can cause vomiting, It is manufactured by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline and is also available as a generic. The medication comes both in pill form, as a liquid and as an injection.

When the FDA approved the drug for generic manufacture in 2006, Zofran was the 20th most frequently sold prescription medication in the United States, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website. In 2005, sales of the medication totalled $839,256,543.

Common Side Effects of Zofran

Zofran has side effects, including the following:

  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Constipation
  • Rash
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle spasms
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Rash
  • Weakness

Severe Side Effects of Zofran

The common side effects above are not usually life- threatening.  However, Zofran has also been shown to have more serious consequences that include:

  • Abnormal heart electrical signals
  • Abnormal liver function tests
  • Abnormally low blood pressure
  • Acute liver failure
  • Bronchospasm
  • Decreased oxygen in the tissues or blood
  • Extrapyramidal reaction
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Giant hives
  • Life-threatening allergic reaction
  • Prolonged q-t interval on ekg
  • Shock
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • Temporary blindness
  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis
  • Trouble breathing
  • Very rapid heartbeat – Torsades de pointes
  • Vocal cord swelling

Drug Interactions With Zofran

In addition to causing sometimes-severe side effects, Zofran is known to have negative interactions with other prescription drugs and common supplements.  These include medications for

  • Breathing problems
  • Cancer
  • Chest pain
  • Depression or other mental or mood problems
  • Fluid retention
  • High blood pressure
  • Immune system suppression
  • Infections
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain
  • Sleep problems
  • Stomach or bowel problems
  • Swelling
  • Tourette syndrome

In addition to being used for nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy, radiation treatments or surgery, Zofran is also used off-label to treat severe morning sickness in pregnant women.  This use of the drug has been controversial, and we will discuss issues related to off-label use in future blog posts.

 

Zofran® is a registered trademark of GlaxoSmithKline, PLC.

Do not stop taking medications except on your doctor’s advice.

 

Alere INRatio linked to Deaths of 3 Patients on Blood Thinners

Elk & Elk is actively investigating claims of serious bleeding events linked to the Alere INRatio and INRatio2 Test Strips and Monitor Systems.

Alere INRatio test strips and monitors linked to serious injuries and death.Patients and family members of those taking the blood-thinning drug warfarin (Coumadin) should be aware of recent recalls by Alere. Coumadin is the brand name for the anticoagulant medicine warfarin, a prescription medicine used to treat blood clots and to lower the chance of blood clots forming in the body.

Patients taking Coumadin must regularly test their blood to prevent dangerous bleeding events from occurring. The blood test measures how long it takes a patient’s blood to clot, specifically, Prothrombin Time (PT), and International Normalized Ratio (INR).

Alere linked to adverse events

In a letter sent to customers Alere stated, “The reason for the adverse event reports was significantly different test results between the Alere INRatio®2 Professional Test Strip and local laboratory plasma INR.” The inaccurately low INR results generated by INRatio products have led to:

  • 18,924 complaints
  • Nine serious adverse events
  • Three events associated with patient deaths

FDA Recall: Alere INRatio Monitor System and Test Strips

Alere has issued two recalls regarding its INRatio 2 Monitoring System and Test Strips.

On April 16, 2014, Alere recalled its INRatio 2 PT/INR Professional Test Strips (PN 99008G2). The Alere Test Strips affected by this first recall were manufactured between August 22, 2013 and April 2, 2014 and distributed from August 26, 2013, until April 2, 2014. Alere is advising patients to immediately stop using its test strips and to use an alternative method to perform PT/INR testing. The urgent recall does not cover Alere’s InRatio PT/INR Test Strip, which is used by patients performing INR monitoring at home. According to the FDA, the cause of the test strip malfunction has not been determined.

On December 5, 2014, Alere issued a second recall, this time regarding its INRatio and INratio 2 PT/INR Monitor System. The monitor system was for professional and prescription home use. Alere manufactured and distributed the system between April 1, 2008 and December 4, 2014. According to the FDA, Alere advises consumers to stop using the INRatio and INRatio2 PT/INR Monitor System if you have anemia, conditions associated with elevated fibrinogen levels, unusual bleeding or bruising, and other conditions. Always consult with your doctor when making health care decisions.

How much will my Alere INRatio lawsuit cost?

The experienced legal team at Elk & Elk takes cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not have to pay Elk & Elk any upfront fees and you will owe nothing unless we achieve a successful outcome and financial recovery in your Alere INRatio claim.

If you or someone you love was injured by a faulty Alere INRatio 2 PT/INR Professional Test Strips or Alere INRatio Monitor System, call 1-800-ELK-OHIO or contact us online.

Elk & Elk Goes Red for the American Heart Association

A brave group of Elk & Elk employees faced the frigid temperatures last Friday for the American Heart Association’s 2015 Go Red for Women Health Expo and Luncheon. Attendees participated in free health screenings, enjoyed hands-on interactive displays, and heard “stories of the heart” from local survivors.

The annual social and educational event is designed to create a conversation around cardiovascular disease and empower women throughout the Cleveland Area to become champions of their health. Go Red for Women raises awareness, as well as funds, to combat the No.1 killer of women: cardiovascular disease. More than 1,000 guests attended the luncheon, including many prominent business executives, community leaders and healthcare professionals.

Check out our photo album from the event on Facebook!

Prevent Heart Disease

More women than men are affected by heart disease. Nearly 80 percent of cardiac problems can be prevented through healthy living. Attendees learned these valuable strategies to prevent heart disease:

  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco
  • Be physically active
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Get enough quality sleep
  • Get regular health screenings
  • Know your family history

Heart Attack Signs in Women

For both men and women, the most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. However, women are somewhat more likely experience other symptoms. Heart attack signs may include:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.

A record $1 million was raised at this year’s Go Red for Women Luncheon and Health Expo, money that will go towards heart and stroke research. Elk & Elk is proud to have sponsored such an important event. Still want to get involved during American Heart Month? Visit www.goredforwomen.org to donate to the fight against heart disease and stroke in women!

Anthem Warns of Phishing Scams

Anthem_Blue_Cross_Blue_ShieldIn January, the personal data of 80 million Anthem customers was hacked, making it the largest data breach in U.S. history. The hackers successfully made off with personal information, including names, birthdays, addresses, and social security numbers. Although there is no sign that they accessed any medical records, Anthem customers are now vulnerable to identity theft.

In the wake of the recent cyber-attack, Anthem sent the following email to employers who offer Anthem insurance to their employees, warning them to be weary of “phishing” scams that may show up in their email inbox. CNBC reports, “Advice for recipients is simple: Don’t click on any links, open attachments or respond to the email sender’s calls to action in any way. Anthem says it will be contacting affected individuals by regular mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service with specific information regarding how to sign up for credit monitoring.”

February 6, 2015

Members who may have been impacted by the cyber attack against us should be aware of scam email campaigns targeting current and former members.  These scams, designed to capture personal information (known as “phishing”) are designed to appear as if they are from our company and the emails include a “click here” link for credit monitoring. Our company DID NOT send these emails. 

  • DO NOT click on any links in email.
  • DO NOT reply to the email or reach out to the senders in any way.
  • DO NOT supply any information on the website that may open, if you clicked on a link in email.
  • DO NOT open any attachments that arrive with email.

We are not calling members regarding the cyber attack and are not asking for credit card information or social security numbers over the phone.

This outreach is from scam artists who are trying to trick consumers into sharing personal data. There is no indication that the scam email campaigns are being conducted by those that committed the cyber attack, or that the information accessed in the attack is being used by the scammers. 

Our Company will contact current and former members via mail delivered by the U.S. Postal Service about the cyber attack with specific information on how to enroll in credit monitoring. Affected members will receive free credit monitoring and ID protection services. 

For more guidance on recognizing scam email, please visit the FTC Website: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing.

We have created a dedicated website (www.AnthemFacts.com) where everyone can access information such as frequently asked questions and answers.

According to news reports, Anthem did not encrypt the personal data of its customers.

 

Sources:

Anthem victims’ first hack symptom: Phishing scams” by Kelli B. Grant, CNBC, February 6, 2015.

Hackers Stole Data On 80 Million Anthem Customers. Why Wasn’t It Encrypted?” by Bruce Japsen, Forbes, February 6, 2015.

Blue or SAD? Tackling Seasonal Affective Disorder

Just outside the Elk & Elk building, snow is piled several feet high and it’s causing many of us to suffer from the “winter blues.” However, for some people, changes in the seasons can bring on serious depression, known as seasonal affective disorder, or “SAD.”

Winter blues can turn to serious depression.
“Landbergs” invade the Elk & Elk parking lot.  Photo: LBC

What is SAD?

SAD is a type of depression related to changes in seasons. Most people who suffer from SAD start experiencing symptoms in the fall, which continue into the winter months and end in the spring.

Brought on by a lack of sunlight and exercise, SAD occurs globally, but is more common among people who live closer to the north or south poles. Here in Northeast Ohio, SAD rates are particularly high due to the region’s heavy cloud cover.

“We were the third highest city in the country that was affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder,” said Cleveland Clinic psychiatrist Karen Jacobs in a WKYC interview.

SAD Symptoms

People suffering from SAD often describe feeling moody and experience a loss of energy. According to the Cleveland Clinic website, symptoms of SAD may include:

  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Extreme fatigue and lack of energy
  • A “leaden” sensation in the limbs
  • Increased need for sleep
  • Craving for carbohydrates, and accompanying weight gain

Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Treatment for SAD may include light therapy (phototherapy), psychotherapy and medications. You can augment these treatments with simple lifestyle changes, including making your environment brighter (open those blinds!), getting outside (even on cloudy days) and exercising regularly.

It is important to remember that Seasonal Affective Disorder is a subtype of major depression. Be sure to contact a mental health professional if you or a loved one experiences symptoms for an extended period of time, have changes in sleep patterns or appetite, feel hopeless, think about suicide, or try to cope by abusing drugs or alcohol.

 

Source:

Winter sparks high rates of depression in Northeast Ohio” by Will Ujek, WKYC-TV, February 3, 2015.