Robitussin and Breastfeeding

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As a new mom, you’re probably deprived of sleep and may not have much time to prepare — let alone sit down to a healthy meal. Therefore, you might end up grabbing whatever quick-and-easy or on-the-go food you can find. You could feel overwhelmed, stressed and physically and mentally exhausted.

All of these things can wear on your immune system, making you especially susceptible to colds and the flu.  And, if you have another young child who’s in preschool or daycare, chances are they’re bringing home germs you could catch.

So, what do you do if you come down with the cold or flu while breastfeeding? Do you automatically reach for cold medicine, like Robitussin? Or, could this cough, cold and flu medicine cause harm to your baby?

What is Robitussin?

Robitussin helps to relieve your cough temporarily from a cold or minor throat irritation. It can also help with chest congestion by loosening up the phlegm, making it easier for you to cough the phlegm up and spit it out — helping to clear your chest.

You take Robitussin by mouth in the form of a liquid. It comes in numerous forms:

  • Regular-strength

  • Children’s formulations

  • Maximum-strength

  • Sugar-free

What are the Benefits of Robitussin?

Robitussin benefits individuals who are suffering from symptoms due to:

  • Cold

  • Flu

  • Hay fever

  • Allergies

  • Breathing illnesses (bronchitis, sinusitis)

It loosens and thins the mucus in your lungs so you can cough it up better. It reduces your urge to cough and helps relieve a stuffy nose and other symptoms.

Can You Take Robitussin While Breastfeeding?

Guaifenesin, an active ingredient in Robitussin, has been assigned to pregnancy category C by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means there are animal reproduction studies revealing an adverse fetus effect, but there are no well-controlled data available for human pregnancy.

Guaifenesin is only recommended for use during pregnancy when benefit outweighs risk. There is also no data on the excretion of guaifenesin into human breast milk. Therefore, the manufacturer advises that because of the potential for serious adverse reactions in infants who are nursing, a decision should be made to either discontinue the drug or discontinue nursing.The best thing to do is consult with your doctor before you take Robitussin or any other medication while breastfeeding. Your doctor may advise you to take a lower dose, find a different medication or choose between the medication and breastfeeding. If your doctor recommends this medication, it’s because they determined the benefit of the drug is greater than the side effects’ risks.

What are the Recommended Doses of Robitussin?

Adults:

For cough, take 200 to 400 mg every four hours.

Be sure to talk to your doctor and/or pharmacist about the correct dosage for the particular Robitussin product you’re considering taking as there is a wide product line that may have different recommended dosages.

Other Robitussin Precautions While Breastfeeding

Before you take Robitussin, let your pharmacist or doctor know if you have any type of allergies since this medication could also contain inactive ingredients that could trigger an allergic reaction or other issues.

Consult with your pharmacist or doctor about your medical history before you take this medication, particularly if you have a history of:

  • Diabetes

  • Emphysema or asthma

  • Heart problems

  • Glaucoma

  • High blood pressure

  • Overactive thyroid

  • Kidney problems

  • Trouble urinating

The Takeaway:

Use caution when taking Robitussin while breastfeeding as it’s not known whether its active ingredient Guaifenesin is excreted into human breast milk. Talk to your doctor about taking Robitussin while breastfeeding.

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