Acetaminophen / guaifenesin Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Warnings
Medically reviewed on January 25, 2018
Acetaminophen / guaifenesin Pregnancy Warnings
Acetaminophen has not been formally assigned to a pregnancy category by the FDA. It is routinely used for short-term pain relief and fever in all stages of pregnancy. Acetaminophen is believed to be safe in pregnancy when used intermittently for short durations.
Guaifenesin has been assigned to pregnancy category C by the FDA. There are no controlled data in human pregnancy. Acetaminophen-guaifenesin is only recommend for use during pregnancy when benefit outweighs risk.
Two cases of acetaminophen overdose in late pregnancy have been reported. In both cases neither the neonate nor the mother suffered hepatic toxicity.
Investigations have revealed conflicting results with regards to the pharmacokinetic disposition of acetaminophen in pregnant women. One study has suggested that the oral clearance of acetaminophen is 58% higher and the elimination half-life is 28% longer in pregnant women compared to nonpregnant women. Another study has suggested that the elimination half-life is not different in patients who are pregnant. That study also suggested that the volume of distribution of acetaminophen may be higher in pregnant women.
One study has suggested that acetaminophen in typical oral doses may result in a reduced production of prostacyclin in pregnant women. That study also suggested that acetaminophen does not affect thromboxane production.
The Collaborative Perinatal Project reported 197 first-trimester exposures to guaifenesin. Fourteen malformations were reported for a relative risk not significantly different from 1.0.
In a review of 229,101 deliveries to Michigan Medicaid patients, 141 first-trimester exposures to guaifenesin and 349 exposures anytime during pregnancy were recorded. A total of 9 birth defects were reported with first trimester exposure (6 expected) and included 2 cardiovascular defects. These data do not support an association between guaifenesin and birth defects. (written communication, Franz Rosa, MD, Food and Drug Administration, 1994)
Acetaminophen / guaifenesin Breastfeeding Warnings
Acetaminophen is excreted into human milk in small concentrations. One case of a rash has been reported in a nursing infant. Acetaminophen is considered compatible with breast-feeding by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
There are no data on the excretion of guaifenesin into human milk. The manufacturer recommends that due to the potential for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants, a decision should be made to discontinue nursing or discontinue the drug, taking into account the importance of the drug to the mother.
References for pregnancy information
- Beaulac-Baillargeon L, Rocheleau S "Paracetamol pharmacokinetics during the first trimester of human pregnancy." Eur J Clin Pharmacol 46 (1994): 451-4
- Galinsky RE, Levy G "Absorption and metabolism of acetaminophen shortly before parturition." Drug Intell Clin Pharm 18 (1984): 977-9
- Roberts I, Robinson MJ, Mughal MZ, Ratcliffe JG, Prescott LF "Paracetamol metabolites in the neonate following maternal overdose." Br J Clin Pharmacol 18 (1984): 201-6
- Heinonen O, Slone D, Shapiro S; Kaufman DW ed. "Birth Defects and Drugs in Pregnancy." Littleton, MA: Publishing Sciences Group, Inc. (1977): 297
- Levy G, Garrettson LK, Soda DM "Evidence of placental transfer of acetaminophen." Pediatrics 55 (1975): 895
- Rayburn W, Shukla U, Stetson P, Piehl E "Acetaminophen pharmacokinetics: comparison between pregnant and nonpregnant women." Am J Obstet Gynecol 155 (1986): 1353-6
- Rudolph AM "Effects of aspirin and acetaminophen in pregnancy and in the newborn." Arch Intern Med 141 (1981): 358-63
- Miners JO, Robson RA, Birkett DJ "Paracetamol metabolism in pregnancy." Br J Clin Pharmacol 22 (1986): 359-62
- "Product Information. Humabid (guaifenesin)." Medeva Pharmaceuticals, Rochester, NY.
- "Product Information. Tylenol Chest Congestion (acetaminophen-guaifenesin)." Johnson and Johnson/Merck Consumer, Fort Washington, PA.
- O'Brien WF, Krammer J, O'Leary TD, Mastrogiannis DS "The effect of acetaminophen on prostacyclin production in pregnant women." Am J Obstet Gynecol 168 (1993): 1164-9
- Byer AJ, Traylor TR, Semmer JR "Acetaminophen overdose in the third trimester of pregnancy." JAMA 247 (1982): 3114-5
References for breastfeeding information
- Matheson I, Lunde PK, Notarianni L "Infant rash caused by paracetamol in breast milk." Pediatrics 76 (1985): 651-2
- Roberts RJ, Blumer JL, Gorman RL, et al "American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Drugs: Transfer of drugs and other chemicals into human milk." Pediatrics 84 (1989): 924-36
- Committee on Drugs, 1992 to 1993 "The transfer of drugs and other chemicals into human milk." Pediatrics 93 (1994): 137-50
- Findlay JW, DeAngelis RL, Kearney MF, et al "Analgesic drugs in breast milk and plasma." Clin Pharmacol Ther 29 (1981): 625-33
- Covington TR, Lawson LC, Young LL, eds. "Handbook of Nonprescription Drugs. 10th ed." Washington, DC: American Pharmaceutical Association (1993):
- Notarianni LJ, Oldham HG, Bennett PN "Passage of paracetamol into breast milk and its subsequent metabolism by the neonate." Br J Clin Pharmacol 24 (1987): 63-7
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.